“I am fearful when I see people substituting fear for reason.” —Klaatu, The Day the Earth Stood Still
It is late April in the year 2020 AD. The stay-at-home order prevails across much of the US. Just as in towns across the country, the historic commercial core of Carlisle, Pennsylvania stands almost empty today. The friendly cafés, the bookshop, the banks, the courthouse, as well as the libraries and schools are closed until further notice. We are reminded of the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still in which an alien lands and tells the people of Earth that they must live peacefully or be destroyed as a danger to other planets. Though he comes as a messenger of peace, the nation is spellbound in fear.
Welcome to the era of the “Coronavirus Pandemic.” If you are one of the lone stragglers walking on the street and you are hungry for a snack or need to use the restroom, too bad. Dogs are lucky. All they need is a nice tree or a patch of green, and the thoughtful owner who carries a pocketful of doggie treats. With the face masks that we are required to wear, it is hard to see if someone is smiling at you or scowling. And physical interactions are out of the question unless you already live with someone you care for. But a mask is not a muzzle and we can still speak out and have meaningful conversations or just say hello to a stranger.
In capitals across the world, politicians are now working with the police, the medical industry and other huge corporate entities and foundations to map out the paths our lives are permitted to take. That is a scary sentence worthy of Nazi Germany. Within this labyrinth are some helpful and caring individuals, but their efforts and data points are often coopted by enemies of truth and goodness. The cause and nature of this crisis is in dispute, so non-compliance with all of the changing governmental requisites is rampant. Though estimates of death rates vary widely, no one disagrees that the COVID-19 event has been destructive to our health and the economies of our nations.
As we have been sequestered in our homes, we have had time to study the situation and to make choices about what really matters to us. Some people have chosen to ignore all the news and just play with their pets and their kids. Others have been drinking more alcohol and watching more junk TV. But many have chosen to really explore what is happening right before our eyes and they are forming their own opinions after listening to a growing number of scientists, scholars, new-thinking politicians, and other visionaries who are suggesting some paradigm shifts from where we were as a citizenry just a few months ago.
Fascinating stories play out every day on our computer screens and TVs. Not all of them can possibly be true. The story you are told is the one that complies with the agenda of your news source. Statistics are often manipulated to scare you and/or make you vote a certain way, or consume a certain way, or think a certain way. But we feel we need to get a grip on some kind of information because our lives and livelihoods are now impacted more than ever by people and agencies that may oppose our well-being. Many special interest groups have been hijacking the news. Some days it looks more like a “scamdemic” than a pandemic.
Is this a false flag operation designed to Balkanize us, so we can be controlled by someone or something? Is this an opportunity to get in touch with our divinity and overcome fear, so we can fulfill the reason for our creation? Is this an opportunity for us to say “no” to addictive consumer lifestyles? Is this an opportunity for a new system to be constructed in which your every move can be monitored by the state? Is this an opportunity to bring out into the open evil persons who have been lurking in the dark, as well as angels who have been serving our higher good? Is this a time for us to question globalism as a business model?
Answers to some of these questions stare us in the face today as we stroll through downtown Carlisle, Pennsylvania. Governor Wolf might suggest that our business here is not essential. We beg to differ. We are advocates for a way of life that could be the antidote to many of the problems we are now facing. By coming here, we are able to breath some fresh air and to get in touch with something that is precious, something that used to be the heart and soul of much of American culture: Main Street, the local shopping district within walking distance of your home. This is a place in which you are a real face, not just a data point on some chart.
Is the current crisis an opportunity to reignite the engine of humanity, a wake-up call to reconnect with our essential need for local community and individual freedom — or is this the end of Main Street as it has been since the founding of our country, and the dawn of a new age in which big government, big box retail, big pharma, big media, and countless global initiatives run your life?
In the words of Professor Barnhardt in The Day the Earth Stood Still, “It’s only at the precipice that we change.”