Keep calm and carry on

By Ken Frederic | Mar 19, 2020

One of the few things older than I am is this bit of advice from wartime Britain in 1939, “Keep calm and carry on.” Another old maxim is that “Good judgment comes from experience and experience comes from bad judgment.” Both are good principles for dealing with the hysteria over COVID-19 and we all should take a pause from reading sensational headlines and running store to store, hoarding all the toilet paper and hand sanitizer we can snatch from the shelves before our neighbors do.

Folks my age are at much greater risk from this new strain of an old virus. Even so, most of us are not at risk of being driven into irrational behavior by the irresponsible headlines and nonstop nattering of so-called “journalists” filling their 3-, 5-, or 10-minute segments with exaggerated distortion of the latest statistics, vacuous “analysis” of the latest CDC statement, and shameless attempts to segue from the virus to blatant political pandering.

This is not our first “pandemic,” and it surely is not the most serious. In fact, for the young and healthy, it presents a lower threat than common flu, at least so far. Nobody knows how many people have been infected because most had mild or no symptoms, did not seek treatment, recovered, and were never tested. While some irresponsible commentators breathlessly exaggerate the mortality rate, this could be from simple ignorance or perhaps from corrupt design intended to inflame the crisis for later exploitation. Even without knowing the “denominator,” there is no evidence that this virus is any more lethal than other kinds of flu. It does appear, however, to be more communicable and that is the threat to be dealt with.

Folks my age survived the Swine Flu, BSE (mad cow disease), SARS, and the gas crisis. As children, we hid under our desks in nuclear attack drills. We learned that however dangerous and serious a crisis is, panic spread by irresponsible reporting and speculation presented the greater threat to most people.

The real dangers of COVID-19 are serious enough and we do not know how many people will be infected before the pandemic fades. But we do know that commonsense measures dramatically reduce the risk of contracting the infection or of spreading it. Responsible media and medical professionals have repeatedly told us what those commonsense measures are. Filling the garage or even the broom closet with toilet tissue is not one of them. Neither is demanding tests while testing is still being deployed or assaulting one another over a case of bottled water.

This is not a time to be planning cocktail parties, booking unnecessary travel, and going to conventions, festivals, or banquets. It is a time to heed restrictions on attending public events and to behave as if anyone, including ourselves, might be contagious and as if anything we touch may be contaminated.

Most of all this is a good time to avoid the loudest and most hyperbolic in the media or the neighborhood. In this political season, some will seek to resurrect failed or failing candidacies and failed policies. There are also those seeking a moment of fame or favor by spreading distrust, slander, chaos, and disinformation. COVID-19 is not partisan, but today’s partisanship is another pandemic and it is probably the most toxic one most of us will live to see.

This crisis can be our opportunity to improve our self-discipline, common sense, and personal and intellectual hygiene for the long term.

May we all stay well or, failing that, get well.

Another View is a Maine Press Association award-winning column written by Midcoast conservative citizens/writers Jan Dolcater, Ken Frederic, Paul Ackerman, Doc Wallace and Dale Landrith Sr.

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Comments (10)
Posted by: Martha Johnston-Nash | Mar 22, 2020 20:19

In the media world, mainstream and social, there are some people who can just not refrain from stating their opinions. On anything and everything. Ron Horvath is one of those people and I, for one, am sick of seeing his name and just refuse to even read the posts because I know they will be negative and full of liberal "facts" - which go on, and on, and on ad nauseam. Many helpful and considerate webchats have been shut down because of people like that. I would hate to see discussions on VS shut down because of one or two people. I know you have a right to do so, but why not just state your case and stop trying to turn everything into an argument?

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Mar 22, 2020 13:42

Mr Shepard,

I want you to understand that I know you are seldom on the posts of Another View  We are into our 7th year of our articles and during this entire time Ron Horvath has been negative 100% of the time week after week  More often than not with snarky remarks whether our articles were on politics or other topics. Far too frequently he cuts and pastes one article after another that often have nothing to do with the content of the article itself  Negative after negative with many marginalized comments or posts. It is apparent he is an unhappy and bitter individual that believes that only his socialist or far left agenda has any relevance. I do not infer that you fall into the same category  It should be noted that the Maine Press Association has awarded us 6 times with having an outstanding opinion column. This should indicate relevance in our regard, as the MPA is certainly not a conservative organization. Yes, all are posts, but enough is enough.

Jan Dolcater  Rockland

Posted by: John Alden Shepard | Mar 22, 2020 08:36

Ms. Dolcater,

I think commenters here are simply trying to respond with facts. If this sort of rebuttal is offensive to you, it's no excuse for using such crude and intolerant phrases as "To the pathetic",  "Stupid is forever", "To the alleged all knowing", and then claiming that the respondents are "filled with hate" as you have done. I am not. This is a public forum and we should treat each other with respect, as grown-ups entitled to voice our opinions in a free country, not disdain. Please try and remain civil.

Posted by: Kevin Riley | Mar 21, 2020 14:22


"individuals that are filled with hatred,"


Where you see hatred were there is none speaks volumes about who you are!

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Mar 21, 2020 11:58

To the 'alleged all knowing',

The article that has received posts from the individuals that are filled with hatred, I feel pity for them  This article was to encourage calm not rancor  I hope each of you, 'alleged all knowers' will attempt to try and read and understand an article without an attack of needless anger

Jan Dolcater  Rockland

Posted by: John Alden Shepard | Mar 21, 2020 08:25

I think you'll never convince these people with reason and logic, Ronald, though I commend your efforts. They are myopic in their devotion to our misleader and their thinking is hopelessly mired in the stalemate of partisan polemics.

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Mar 20, 2020 10:35

Forgive and forget, but stupid is forever

Jan Dolcater  Rockland

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Mar 19, 2020 23:32

Is this what we have lowered ourselves to? It seems though it is. :( "Greater love has no man than he who will give his life for a friend."

"Well worth giving this piece on the transfer of 500,000 coronavirus testing kits from Italy to the US a read, from the Italian newspaper La Repubblica which raises concerns over the deals behind sales of essential equipment.

The whole world says it’s a war. And for the first time in history it seems to be everyone against everyone, without any alliances. Each nation thinks for itself, using every means to guarantee the winning weapons against the virus: swabs, masks, respirators. So the United States managed to buy half a million kits to detect the infection in Brescia. And they moved them to Memphis in a military plane."

Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Mar 19, 2020 20:50

It should be noted in the last few days Gov. Newsom of California, Gov Cuomo of New York, Dana Bash of CNN, Morning Joe of MSNBC and even Rep. Ilhan Omar, MN have all been congratulatory toward Pres Trump for his efforts extended re: the coronavirus. It is certainly a fact that none of the aforementioned individuals share any political similarities to Trump However, each has adopted an attitude of working together as Americans to solve a serious problem. It would be refreshing if some who comment in the Village Soup would adopt the same approach. Where the shoe fits, slip it on

Jan Dolcater, Rockland


Posted by: JUNE DOLCATER | Mar 19, 2020 14:02

To the pathetic

The post  in response to a thoughtful article that was free from any political malice and promoted calm and understanding does not merit smarminess. Take a deep breath and I hope you are better

Jan Dolcater  Rockland

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