• Kristaleagh Walthall

Protect Your Community, Not Your Convenience

Updated: May 28

Oof.

Y'all.

I've been having some thoughts lately and have been struggling with whether or not I want to come on here and share them. On one hand, I want this to be a positive space, but on the other, I also want it to be an honest one. I cannot in good conscience continue to post on this site and not address what is happening in the world around me.

I've been really discouraged by what I have been seeing on social media lately. It seems like the world is getting more and more negative and selfish and divided despite everything that is going on. Right now, we're in the middle of a global pandemic and we've slowly began the process of reopening, but in the last couple of weeks I have seen SO many people on my timeline posting just nasty, selfish, and irresponsible things in response to the latest coronavirus happenings.

I have seen news reports of rioting and people throwing parties and tearing up court papers. I have seen post after post of people losing their minds because places like Costco are requiring face masks in order to be allowed inside. People are demanding that hair stylists, retail stores, and restaurants reopen in order to serve them because they're bored. I literally watched a video of a woman attacking a restaurant worker because she had to wait three hours for her food on Mother's Day due to the restaurant being overwhelmed with food orders and working with a skeleton crew.

Like what the fuck America?

I can't say that I thought this pandemic was going to bring us all together, but I sure didn’t see this much division coming out of something this traumatic.

The worst part about all of this is that the people posting this stuff and rioting and protesting aren't the people who will go back to work once everything starts reopening. A friend of mine said in a conversation we had the other day that the reason they're pushing so hard for the working class to go back to work is so that they can take people off unemployment and use them as guinea pigs in the chance that cases do spike again. Please don’t push for people to go back to work if you have the privilege to work from home or don’t work in the service industry. It is not fair that you get to dictate how we take care of ourselves and the people around us when you won’t be putting yourself into that situation.

I'm a bartender; most of my friends work in some sort of customer service industry, whether it be beauty, retail or restaurants. Every single person I have talked to that works in the service industry that isn't currently working hates being at home, but doesn't really want to go back to work yet. Not because they're lazy and like being on unemployment, but because we're all worried about each other and what rushing back to work could mean for our places of business and all of the people we would come in contact with.

The friends of mine who are working and have been throughout this pandemic have told me about how people are blatantly disregarding the rules their businesses have put in place and are being so rude and hateful to the employees on shift. You guys want to go out so badly, but you're treating the employees you forced to be there terribly. Why? How does that benefit you? I can't decide if the human race as a whole is more terrifying or if the virus is.

The beauty industry is probably the most at risk. They don't have the luxury of plexiglass or being able to be six feet away from their customers. They are fully hands on with each and every single person who walks through their door. Don't get me wrong; they can wear masks and gloves and sanitize everything in between appointments, but do you really think the people rushing to book hair or nail or brow appointments are going to take the same amount of energy and time to ensure that they're not spreading the coronavirus?

No. They're not. All they care about is getting life back to normal and that comes at the expense of the people who provide services. You know how I know this? Because I have seen multiple posts on Facebook and Instagram from people in the last three days alone bragging about how they walked into hair places without an appointment or a mask and demanded to be served until they were. I've seen posts from hair stylists sharing about customers who have come in with pending Covid-19 test results, some of which came back positive forcing the salon to re-shut down. Way to put other people at risk so you aren't mildly inconvenienced.

Most beauty industry providers are self-employed too, which means they've already taken a huge hit due to not being able to work, but if they get sick, then they lose all chance to work at all and now their families are at risk also. I don't think that they should have been included in Phase One re-openings in any state, and that our country should have done a much better job making sure that they were covered by unemployment from the beginning of the shut down.

Restaurants aren't essential period. You can cook at home. I don't care if you're bored. Like I said, all of us are over being at home. We miss our friends. We miss having a purpose. We're used to ten to twelve hour shifts on our feet dealing with consistent flows of customers who demand everything from us and still aren't satisfied at the end of the day. We would love to see our regulars and our coworkers again; we just don't want to do so until it's safe.

We know that the coronavirus isn't done. America (more specifically, Virginia. I can't speak for the other states.) has just barely started to get over the first peak, and going back to work puts all of us at risk. Luckily for me and my friends, most of the restaurants in the area I work in, my work included, despite Governor Northam allowing them to open their patios at 50% are choosing to stick to takeout, delivery, or continuing to be closed altogether. Working isn't as important to us as getting all of our coworkers and regulars, both groups who are basically family to us, sick.

I think the biggest thing that blows my mind is the whole mask debate. People are claiming that the mask orders are "unconstitutional." Can the government force you to wear a mask? Honestly, I don't know. I can't find anything that says that they can or can't. Maybe that's why most of America's governor's aren't requiring them, but instead suggesting them.


Can businesses force you to wear a mask? If you want to shop there, then yes, they are legally allowed to make that a requirement for their establishment. I've done a bunch of research for this post and I can't seem to find anywhere in any of the constitution where it says that places requiring you to wear a mask to protect their employees is taking away your rights. Even if you want to stretch the First Amendment to fit your argument, private employers can refuse service to whoever they want as long as it doesn't go against our anti-discrimination laws. (Side note: I'm actually super proud of Virginia for becoming the first southern state to make it illegal to discriminate against the LGBTQ+ community. Way to go Governor Northam.) They can refuse you service if you're not wearing a mask during this pandemic, but they can't refuse you service based on your skin color, gender, sexual preferences, religion, etc. There is a huge difference.

Businesses requiring you to wear a mask in order to use their services doesn't infringe on your rights. If anything, you refusing to wear one and throwing a temper tantrum about it is infringing on theirs. Look, if all of the experts who are saying that masks are effective turn out to be wrong, you have literally lost nothing by wearing one in the process. Please stop being selfish and start caring about the people around you.

If I'm being really honest, the group of people I'm the most disappointed in right now are Christians, and I know I'm going to get a lot of backlash for saying this, but some of y'all are literally proving to the world why they don't want to become one. Your posts are so full of hate and selfishness and judgement; it's disheartening.

Look, I'm a Christian; I love Jesus and I believe that he died for me and that my life here on Earth should look like his life when he was here. I know I'm not perfect and this is coming from a place of pleading more so than judgement, but everything I've seen over the last two months from the Christians in my life, some of them being prominent leaders within the church ranks, makes me not want to call myself one out of shame and embarrassment.

Do you honestly think that Jesus would be here protesting the virus and refusing to wear a mask and calling people names and threatening to report them because they're scared to go back to work? No, he wouldn't. He preached love, showed mercy, took care of other people's needs, and consistently put himself aside to serve others.

Philippians 2:4 says "Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others."

1 John 4:7-8 says "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love."

1 Corinthians 10:24 says "Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor."

1 Corinthians 13:4-7 says "Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things."

Ephesians 4:29 says "Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear."

Please, I'm literally begging you. If you're posting post after post, full of hate and entitlement, please stop. Stop giving Christians a bad name. Stop feeding into the world's idea that we are full of hate and judgement. I've had so many conversations with people about how they will never go to church because of the way some of y'all have been acting during this whole pandemic. It's so depressing because I know what Jesus has to offer people, but I'm having a difficult time showing them when the majority of Christians are acting like this.

Persecution is a thing. There are people out there who want to see us gone and our religion destroyed. I'm not naive enough to ignore that, but not being able to hold in-church services and being asked to wear a mask or to leave school isn't persecution. We are not exempt from obeying the government because we are Christians. If anything, we should be listening more because the Bible consistently talks about respecting and obeying our leaders. The only time we're not supposed to is when they forbid us to worship, which isn't what is happening right now.

This should be a time for the church to come together and help their communities. A great thing I saw the other day was that Mount Ararat Church up in Stafford has been going to different grocery stores and covering people's groceries. That's a small thing that has a BIG impact. Some churches are doing food pantries for people struggling right now. That's the kind of things the world needs to see from the church.

In conclusion, America, you guys kind of suck right now. Please stop making up reasons why you feel like your rights are being taken away, because I guarantee if you're the person protesting and claiming oppression right now because you can't go out to eat or get your hair cut or because you have to wear a mask or because you can't go hang out with a ton of people, you're the kind of person we don't want in our businesses because you're selfish and demanding and you make our lives harder in normal circumstances let alone a traumatic one.

Start caring about someone other than yourselves, stop being okay with people dying so life can go back to normal, start following the guidelines set in place and be the good people I know you all can be. Protect your community. Protect your friends. Protect the people around you even if you don't care enough to protect yourselves.

I would just like to say before I end this post that I didn't write this because I'm looking for a fight. If you would like to discuss this post and have a rational conversation about our opinion differences, please feel free to contact me. I'm a firm believer in being educated in things you talk about, especially heavier topics such as religion and politics, and finding your information from unbiased opinions if possible. If you have sources that support or disprove anything I've talked about, I'd love to see them.


If you are only looking to call me names and tell me that I'm wrong because you don't agree, I kindly ask that you don't. The last thing I'm trying to do is cause division, and I will not welcome hatred and negativity into my inbox. I also ask that you leave it out of the comments; nothing good will come from arguing with each other. Thank you in advance for respecting this.

Take a shot for all of the service workers dealing with assholes right now and toast to the governors who are doing their best and actually trying to keep us all alive,

Cheers

Kristaleagh


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