They were all set to go to Zambia, my sister and other family members, when Zambia closed its borders due to COVID. Family Legacy’s whole summer outreach to over seven thousand Zambian children was cancelled. The danger from COVID was too great. It is a danger that outweighs any positive benefit from the summer program run by American volunteers. The Zambian government is protecting its citizens from COVID by closing its borders and not allowing anyone in or out during these current months.
Some of my family members want to attend the wedding of their niece in the UK in early September. But there is a problem. Although they have been vaccinated, which is one of the requirements in order to enter the country, they also must take a current COVID test and quarantine for fourteen days upon arrival in the country. The time and expense of a hotel room in which to quarantine for such a length of time plus the time off work, combine to make this a prohibitive proposition. But they understand why they have to miss their niece’s wedding – the UK is just doing what is needed to protect its citizens from the dangers of COVID.
Our government is acting to protect us as well. Vaccines are being required of us as citizens in many instances in order to attend university, to go to work, to eat in a restaurant in some places etc. These rules are being put in place by our government because COVID is dangerous and we need to be protected from it. So you can imagine my surprise, confusion and curiosity when I learned that one million plus people from every continent and countries all around the globe have crossed our southern border and entered into our country in the last six months. That is a lot of people to be tested for COVID, quarantined for fourteen days, vaccinated (fully with both shots, which takes time) before being given a mask and admitted to our country to roam free.
I confess – I am curious as to how my government has been able to accomplish all this testing and vaccinating and quarantining with such large numbers of people. It would seem to be a daunting, if not overwhelming task. The city of Shreveport alone has been receiving up to six busloads of people from other countries a day. I’m wondering if this is before or after these individuals have been tested, quarantined and vaccinated? Then I learn that the people crossing our southern border into Arizona, Texas and California are not being tested for COVID, are not required to quarantine nor are they required to be fully vaccinated before they come into our country. Certainly, they are asked the health questions we are all used to by now while their passports are being checked? (I remember answering questions while my passport is perused as I wait to gain entrance into another country, not my own. That is standard procedure around the world.)
So now I am confused. COVID is so dangerous that there are mask mandates and vaccine requirements for us as citizens of this country. Other countries are not letting people in or out of their nation in order to protect their citizens. Why is our government not protecting us? Why has our government let a million plus people come into our country without requiring them to be vaccinated? We are required to be vaccinated to go to school, to work, out to eat etc. We are required to wear a mask even when we are fully vaccinated. We have to take COVID tests even though we are fully vaccinated. Why wouldn’t people coming across our southern border have to test and show proof of vaccination? Why is our Canadian border closed but our southern border open?
Does COVID only come from Canada and not from the myriad of nations from which people have traveled in order to enter our country through our southern border? They tell us our COVID numbers are rising. Why then, does our government continue to admit untested, unquarantined, unvaccinated individuals into our country? (one million is a lot of people to add to the mix when we are concerned about contact tracing, distancing, quarantining and/or locking down) We, as citizens, are under numerous COVID related restrictions at the present time, which apply even to the fully vaccinated among us. Why don’t these same restrictions apply to people coming into our country during this time? (which again begs the question – why is anyone even being allowed to enter the country during this COVID time of such extreme danger that we as citizens have been subjected to rule by emergency edict rather than rule of law? for our own good, of course) I sure hope they are handing out masks at the border, because many parts of our country are reinstating mask mandates for everyone – vaccinated/unvaccinated, indoors/outdoors – young children (who are largely unaffected by the virus but may be adversely affected by constant obstruction of air flow) – it doesn’t matter. We are being told to wear a mask regardless.
So far I haven’t come across anyone able to answer these questions that I constantly ponder given the circumstances that we find ourselves in each day. Why would a country restrict its own citizens in their personal freedoms but allow those same freedoms to those who come from other countries? Why are our borders not closed as are other country’s borders, if COVID is so dangerous at this time as to warrant the limiting of our personal freedoms?
I can only hope and want desperately to believe, that my government does have my best interests at heart. After all, that is any good government’s job – to provide for the common defense – to secure its borders and protect its own citizens from external dangers that threaten them with harm. (and COVID is a definitive danger of global proportions as our government constantly reminds us) This is why I am surprised they are so lax in protecting us – after all, they are the ones warning us of this danger and imposing recurring restrictions upon us while failing to protect us from the spread of this virus through our open border. I never want to see the day when I need protection from my own government. That would be a sad and alarming day indeed. So I don’t want to think too deeply about this apparent paradox of a projected two million people coming into the country by the end of the year. Individually we are in lockdown while as a country we are wide open?
I do feel like my country does not have my best interests at heart right now even though I am one of its citizens. But even as I write this, I realize that my trust, my faith and my hope are better placed in something other than my government. Or rather Someone – these words from Psalm 91 wash over me, redirecting my thoughts, renewing my hope, calming my spirit as I focus on what is both true and eternal –
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’ Surely He will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday. . . . If you make the Most High your dwelling – even the Lord, who is my refuge – then no harm will befall you, no disaster will come near your tent. For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. . . . ‘Because he loves Me,’ says the Lord, ‘I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges My name. He will call upon Me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him and show him My salvation.’ ”
now that’s protection! that’s comfort! that’s peace! that’s hope!
sincerely, Grace Day