Personal Responsibility

No one can make me do the right thing.

I am really proud to live in the State of Washington. I’m impressed at how we’re responding to the pandemic. I listen to Governor Inslee’s press conferences every chance I get, and he’s doing a terrific job keeping us up to date. We are not rushing to open things back up. We’re prioritizing lives over profit. I know that that is causing people to suffer, but in the end, staying alive is more important. This is a time when we all need to make sacrifices, even to the point that it hurts, in order to protect our fellow citizens.

I understand why some states are opening back up too soon. To do otherwise is probably political suicide. People are sick to death of being locked down. People are desperate to get back to work. Those things are tangible. The air is thick with impatience and frustration. Whereas this virus is invisible. You don’t actually see it until someone you love dies.

So I admire Governor Inslee for taking the moral high ground. He’s putting the people first. That’s not something you see many politicians doing these days.

The irritating thing about his press conferences on Facebook is the comments that stream past as he speaks. “You can’t make me wear a mask.” “Who are you to decide whether I open my massage parlor back up?” “Contact tracing is unconstitutional!”

In kindergarten, along with the concept of sharing your toys, it seems that we need to teach children about personal responsibility. While it comes naturally to many of us, it appears to be something that needs to be taught to others. In short: The world does not revolve around you.

You’re absolutely right. No one can make you wear a mask. And no one should have to tell you when to open your business. And while I’m pretty sure you may have to reread the constitution, I’ll admit that contact tracing is a bit of an invasion of privacy.

But you are part of a civilized society. And if you are going to take advantage of the benefits thereof, there are certain sacrifices that you need to make. That’s the contract you’ve entered into. You don’t have to like it.

Just as you shouldn’t shout fire in a crowded theater just because you think it would be funny, and you shouldn’t kneel on someone’s neck for nearly nine minutes simply because you have superior firepower, you also should not do anything else that increases the risk that people around you might die.

You’d think that would go without saying, but apparently not. Every single day that I’m at work, I sit in my bridge tower and watch the pedestrians, joggers, and bicyclists go by. Fewer and fewer of them are wearing masks. More and more of them are out and about. There seems to be a general feeling of, “It can’t happen to me, and I don’t particularly care if it happens to you.”

What these people seem to overlook is that their actions don’t only affect them. If they engage in risky behavior, they also risk bringing the virus home to their loved ones, or to their coworkers, or to the innocent schmuck who happens to pass too close to them on the sidewalk, or to the health care workers who have to risk their lives to care for us. Those are the people I worry about.

If you want to act stupid, that’s your prerogative. But you’re also making bad choices for everyone you come into contact with, and that’s unconscionable.

How American it is to think that just because we’re tired of this virus, we can ignore it and move on. Boo hoo. It’s not fun. It’s a hassle. We want to think about something else. But this virus only has legs if we give it legs. In cases like this, moving on isn’t an option.

Every day, at the beginning of my shift, I sanitize everything in my work space that I think could have been touched by coworkers. I do this for me, and for my husband, and for anyone else I might encounter. And at the end of the shift, I sanitize again. I don’t do this for me. I do this for my coworker who is about to occupy this same space. I think about his son and his wife as I clean. I think about the fact that a 10 year old boy needs both his parents to be healthy to take care of him.

No one can make me do the right thing. No one can make me do anything, technically. I do these things because I know I’m personally responsible for holding up my end of the contract of civilization. I do it because I’m an adult. I do it because I care about my fellow human beings.


An attitude of gratitude is what you need to get along. Read my book!


Author: The View from a Drawbridge

I have been a bridgetender since 2001, and gives me plenty of time to think and observe the world.

11 thoughts on “Personal Responsibility”

  1. I wear a mask every time I step out that door. I’ll stampede to the bookstores the minute they open, but I will still wear a mask, and keep my distance, and wait to get in if I have to. And add another cheer for Mom and others who have spent weeks making masks.
    I’m a rather @#$%&*=the-world type myself, but I found a while back that manners and consideration are good for one’s own mood. Some of these people remind me of when I was 18, and it isn’t good.

  2. I appreciate the efforts of those being personally responsible for we who are so vulnerable, but the increase in those who won’t destroys much of your efforts. I feel I may never leave this apartment again without risking my life, which was a struggle before this, but now, it’s one step from unbearable. Those whining about invasion of privacy that use the internet, social media and cell phones willingly give up privacy for convenience and entertainment, but to help stop a deadly virus they’re feeling violated? If enough people die because they refused to take responsibility, there will be personal consequences. They’ll learn that with great freedom comes personal responsibility, or you lose it.

  3. Such a meaningful article … ttps:// “Radical acceptance is an act of the total person that allows [acceptance] of ‘this moment,’ or of ‘this reality’ in this moment.” This might make taking personal responsibility a clearer choice for those whose common sense and decency is lost in a fog of personal fear. Denial, in the face of proven reality, is Trump’s M.O. and we all suffer that damage. Trying to understand what drives such risky, irresponsible behavior so we can help them learn radical acceptance and overcome their toxic fears. Any ideas?

  4. Too bad, I could’ve used help dealing with my unmasked neighbor who tried to convince me (through my window) to come out and ignore the reported viral statistics. Says it’s lies to increase funding when the number of cases go up. She knows how vulnerable I am but was so focused on denying reality she continued arguing the point even as she realized how much I was shaking. My tremors increase when stressed or threatened (She owns a gun.) She advised me to ignore doctors who’ve told me to stay home and offered telemed appointments. Even my meds are delivered, for free, to limit my exposure. I check 8 boxes on the risk list but she insists I’ll be fine and is more concerned about my sun exposure. I can’t sit in the sun here because not one of my neighbors wears masks or social distances. It’s not enough that I don’t bother them about that, now they’re banging on my door demanding I engage in their risky behaviors.Trumps minions are now targeting the vulnerable in their homes. What’s next? Drag us from our safe harbors and force exposure? As she left she said I should be in assisted living if I’m so sick. What she meant was a nursing home where my risk of catching covid is guaranteed. This is someone who claims she cares, much like her adored leader claims. So the insanity is now at my door insisting I let it in. Help!

    1. Next time she comes, I suggest you go to the other end of your apartment and let her babble at your window until she gets bored and wanders off. She can think what she wants and talk as much as she wants, but you don’t have to be stressed out by listening to her crazy butt. I hope you’re taking vitamin D. Hugs.

  5. I try that and she bangs on my bedroom window saying she’s just making sure I’m OK. If I don’t respond she causes drama with management or police involvement. She called a tow truck on someone parked in my spot, without any input from me, and let my other neighbor think I had her visitor’s car towed. She doesn’t get bored and wander off, she gets agitated, stirs up chaos and walks away leaving the innocent to the consequences. Sound familiar? Did I mention the gun? She threatened to use it on a cat for leaving footprints on her car. She brags about beating a teenage Iraqi boy (with a bat) for wearing pants with the American flag on them and the courts let her off cause she’s a Vet. She’s moving today, but only 3 miles away and I cut her off mid rant so, she’ll be back to punish me. She’s dangerous when her meds are off. Yes, I take high quality, sublingual, vitamin D with K2 drops along with calcium that also has vitamin D. Hugs to you too.

      1. She is a bonafide Trump supporter so it fits. 🙂 I just hope she doesn’t learn how wrong she is about covid the hard way.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: