MATTHEWS: It’s okay to ask questions about when we begin to get back to normal

With most states under either shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders thanks to local or state governments, a majority of Americans are having to adjust to what is being called the “new normal.”

Some of these orders extend at least through the end of this month. Virginia’s stay-at-home orders go into June.

Here in North Carolina, Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper stated during a recent coronavirus press briefing that “we just don’t know yet” if the state’s stay-at-home orders will extend into May.

If he does decide to extend it, questions should be asked as to the justification for it. And the answers should not be vague ones like “we must do this out of an abundance of caution.”

It will need to be explained in detail to the people of this state who are being told to remain jobless and at home for an undetermined amount of time why models predicting hundreds of thousands of cases are reliable.

To date, I’ve gone along with what the state has asked and then mandated that we do, but along the way I’ve also had questions about the data. State Republican leaders have, too.

Unfortunately, when certain types of questions get asked, there is sometimes a disturbing tendency among some people to treat those simply questioning the data and asking when we can start getting back to normal as though they are conspiracy theorists or are people who otherwise don’t care if they get themselves or others sick.

Since when did questioning government at all levels become a bad thing? That is what free citizens living in a free society were supposed to do, last I checked.

My first concern as we go along in all this, of course, is my family. I’m worried about them catching the virus, and I’m worried I will. After suffering from the H1N1 virus (swine flu) during the 2009 pandemic, I’ve been trying to take extra precautions, because all of this brings up way too many memories of a painful experience I’d prefer not to repeat.

But what also makes me lose sleep is how easily most everyone has fallen into place. I understand the seriousness of the virus and the need to take precautions, but I’m uneasy with how people who simply ask questions about the data, and when things can start getting back to normal are treated in some circles with contempt.

They’re treated as though we as a society simply must accept without question what the government tells us about when it’s safe to begin the process of returning back to normalcy.

No. The government works for us, and we have the right to ask those questions. And the longer stay-at-home orders are in place all over the country, and the stricter some of them get in states, such as Michigan, the more people, sitting at home feeling isolated and/or anxious about when they can get back to providing for their families, will demand answers.

Leaders at the local and state levels should be as forthcoming as they can be with those answers — and again, not vague answers, but answer with details that give their statements believability.

We should all continue to do what we can to keep our families, ourselves, and our communities safe. But we should also still continue to ask questions about the data, because while reasonable stay-at-home measures are understandable, they should also have an expiration date.

This is all new to Americans, and it is not normal. Not in any way, shape, or form. So while we should remain vigilant and stay safe, at the same time we shouldn’t get comfortable with this so-called “new normal.”

Not one little bit.

Stacey Matthews has also written under the pseudonym Sister Toldjah and is a regular contributor to RedState and Legal Insurrection.