Opinion: Stay positive and set a good example


Daily Post Editor

Three weeks into this stay-at-home order and I think some of my friends are going stir crazy.

I’ll get a phone call, text or email every day from a friend or acquaintance who says the shutdown is too extreme. Of course they don’t put it that nicely. I frequently hear that the stay-at-home order is BS.

My response? Try to be as positive as possible. Control your emotions. Getting angry isn’t the way to go. You can’t reverse the stay-at-home order, so make the best of it. Help others.

But the longer this gets, the more people are going to push back. We saw that in a small way the other day when tennis players broke the lock at the Rinconada Park tennis courts and went into play, despite a city order closing the facility.

Parks throughout our area have been closed because officials felt people weren’t practicing social distancing — staying six feet apart.

When the Post asked Palo Alto Councilwoman Liz Kniss about the stores being boarded up downtown, she warned that civil unrest is possible depending on how long society is shut down.

“That’s what happens in situations where people begin to feel powerless,” she said. “People who don’t have jobs, who don’t have money, who don’t have a place to live become really disenchanted with the world around them and strike back. People do strange things in strange time and these are strange times.”

Too extreme?

People are questioning whether California went too far with the stay-at-home order. All this week, people have asked me: Why can’t we follow Sweden’s example?

Last Monday the Post ran an Associated Press story about how Sweden is bucking the trend of other countries and refusing to impose a mandatory stay-at-home order. Instead, people who are vulnerable to the coronavirus — the elderly and those with medical problems — are being asked to stay at home. Everybody else is free to go on with their lives.

As the story put it, “The streets of Stockholm are quiet but not deserted. People still sit at outdoor cafes in the center of Sweden’s capital. Vendors still sell flowers. Teenagers still chat in groups in parks. Some still greet each other with hugs and handshakes.”

Swedish leaders think the coronavirus primarily kills the elderly. Younger people may get it but they often don’t get the symptoms.

Personal freedom

The government there has advised people to work from home and practice social distancing, but it’s not the law. It’s voluntary. People are allowed to make their own decisions. You can still go to a bar for a drink. You can’t stand at a bar, but they’ll allow you to drink at a table.

When Gov. Gavin Newsom decided to close down the state, let’s hope he was told about alternatives, such as what the Swedes are doing. Let’s hope he made his decision based on a great deal of information and advice from experts.

Decision made in secret

But we don’t know how he made his decision. It happened entirely behind closed doors. It didn’t go through the Legislature, which would have debated the options publicly.

Did he make the best choice or did Sweden? We won’t know until this is over. And when it ends, there will be an investigation.

In the meantime, calm down and be positive. Set a good example for others. Help one another. This will end and our lives will return to normal. Then we can argue all we want about it.

Editor Dave Price’s column appears on Mondays. His email address is price@padailypost.com.


  1. When this is over, we’ll see that the governor hit the panic button and killed a lot of jobs and businesses in the process. I’ve lost my job and my employer has shut down. I’m angry. First I want to get back to work, and then I promise you that I’ll be an activist to make sure that none of the officials who supported this order are ever re-elected.

  2. Sweden had a spike in deaths on Wednesday, but on a per capita basis, it’s doing better at handling the coronavirus than peer countries. Go to worldometers.info https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?utm_campaign=homeAdvegas1?/embed/fd0k_hbXWcQ, which provides a per capita breakdown. It shows that Sweden has had 86 deaths per 1 million in population. That’s more than the U.S. (55), but much better than
    Spain 342
    Italy 312
    France 202
    UK 132
    Turkey 558
    Belgium 260
    Netherlands 147
    It’s astonishing to hear so many from America’s political left rooting for Sweden to fail. Sweden’s government, led by Stefan Lofven, is left of center, equivalent to the Democrats in the U.S.
    Ironically, America’s political left has been pushing for measures that have wrecked the lives of lower-paid factory, construction and service workers while leaving the left-wing, urban, I-can-work-from-home types slightly inconvenienced. The Democrats have abandoned their base — the blue-collar working class — in favor of the rich techies and other elites. So the Sweden’s idea of allowing people to have a greater degree of freedom in this crisis is something all Democrats have to strenuously oppose. At last Monday’s Palo Alto City Council meeting, I heard council woman Alison Cormack say that the shutdown should last through May. I wonder what she does for a living? She obviously doesn’t have to worry about putting food on the table.

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