Fear can’t promote complacency


Ellie Tang

The fear of Covid-19 is taking a toll on activism. People are stepping back from taking a stand on current issues and find themselves overwhelmed with balancing their society and their health.

Andrew Mitchell, Sports Editor

In 2018, I went to a March for Our Lives protest to end gun violence in our nation. School shootings seemed like they were happening every single day. I was afraid. In 2019, I went to the Climate Strike to demand legislative change in a world where the future of our planet looked terrifyingly hopeless. I was afraid. Now, I am not marching, but staying home. People are sick and dying and normalcy is a blurry idea too distant to see. I am still afraid.

However, now the doors and windows to my school are unlocked and open all day, hindering the security of the school. States are reversing bans on single use plastics, and their usage is skyrocketing. In the face of our most current fear, the COVID-19 pandemic, we have forgotten everything else we have ever been afraid of. Everything we marched for is no longer a priority.

Fear cannot be our reason to be passionate about important issues like climate change, gun violence and safety from the virus. Fear is not a permanent feeling; the sooner it wears off the less attentive we become. There will always be issues that are pressing and stressful, but if we constantly backseat an issue when it’s not priority number one, nothing will happen.  

One one hand, I get it. COVID-19 is statistically more dangerous than school shootings. According to the American Psychological Center, Covid is the current greatest stressor across Americans of all different demographics. 

On the other hand, I don’t think we can live our lives with fear as our motivating force. I am also not sure that fear is the reason for the lack of action. I really want to believe that we are just tabling climate change and gun violence for a less “pressing” time. I really want to believe that the 4 million people who marched for climate justice and the 1.2 million people who marched against gun violence are anxiously waiting to keep pushing for change. I truly hope that COVID-19 put these fights on pause, and that they will resume with even more passion and vigor when the global conditions permit. However, I can’t help but think if they were truly enraged with the lack of change, “waiting” wouldn’t even be an option. 

The Black Lives Matter movement has proven that we as humans can multitask. Around 20 million Americans got back on the streets to demand equal rights and treatment in the last year. The protests have shown that this is an issue that needs to be fought for every day of every month until there is reformative change. This same attitude needs to be attributed to all the other issues that need change, but are falling out of the spotlight.

It is integral to the future of our nation and planet that we recognize the complacency that comes with prioritizing fear. School shootings are still happening and climate change becomes a greater threat everyday. We must be self-aware of when we accept fear as a reality. The fact that these issues are becoming normalized should be motivation enough to keep marching, fighting, and demanding change.