The Shame of CYA

Hey Friends,

As of today my three sons are all in school. Although summer is wonderful, by the end of July, we’re inevitably ready for more structure. When mid-August comes, we’re really ready. Of course there ain’t no ready like 2020 ready!

But happy as I am, as overcome with gratitude as I am, I’m also concerned that things will get derailed.

Let me tell you a story that I think helps illustrate part of my concern. A young mama recently told me she was going to talk to her pediatric pulmonologist about the risks of Covid-19 for her toddler. This child has experienced respiratory distress in response to mild childhood viruses. Now that more is known about Covid-19, it was probably the mama’s hope that the physician guidance might would be softened a bit. Strict, long-term isolation is difficult for anyone, including for this highly social toddler.

But what do you think the physician will say? The physician will be motivated by their own interests. After all, we live in a litigious society, and the physician is not the one experiencing any of the negative implications of the recommendation. The physician is being asked to make a myopic assessment of one hazard. In a sense it is understandable that the physician will counsel the parent to take extreme measures to isolate. It’s a simple application of CYA (cover your ass).

Of course life is too complicated to focus on just one factor, and while CYA may be somewhat understandable for physicians, it has no place in true leadership. Nevertheless, here we are: there ain’t no CYA like 2020 CYA. Policies based on CYA concerns are now ubiquitous, all singularly focused on the coronavirus, which for the majority of people under sixty is benign.

Meanwhile, you probably know that suicide and overdose numbers have skyrocketed. Yet websites with suicide/OD tickers aren’t popping up everywhere — instead we still have the Covid case number trackers, which by themselves are not very informative at all, and appear to be aimed primarily at alarming shallow and unquestioning cable news addicts. I’m so sick of it. I want those in authority and in the media to feel debilitating shame about the manipulation of the narrative and the many lives destroyed by their absurd and illogical policies. I almost wish there could be a class action lawsuit brought against the lockdowners for the lives lost in the name of CYA. It’s not science, and it’s not about saving lives. The lockdowns have been far more deadly than the virus itself for many demographics, and the long-term effects projected around the globe are terrifying. Obviously suicides and mental illness are harder to pin on policy than deaths from a virus, and that’s how they get away with it. But I see the blood on their hands, and I am increasingly optimistic Americans are waking up.

We need leaders who are strong and courageous, leaders who actually care about the flock they are leading. When you hear about a new policy or recommendation, ask yourself what role CYA is playing in it. Ask yourself if the person in charge is being honest about the impact as a whole, or merely myopically and often ineffectually mitigating the risk of Covid.

My back-to-school resolution is to daily walk barefoot on the treadmill while using the app “Pray As You Go.” And I don’t mean to brag or anything, but I’m two for two! Anyway, this morning the reading on the app was from Ezekiel.

As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. Ezekiel‬ ‭34:8-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

Can I confess how often I read Ezekiel? Pretty much never. But this passage addresses exactly what’s been eating at me: Shepherds who feed themselves at the expense of the flock. It’s CYA for shepherds and God condemns it. How are your local health officials shepherding the flock? How about the school officials? How about your mayor or your governor? Are they strong and courageous, transparently acknowledging unintended consequences and the complexity of risk? Or are they still in the inexcusable myopic phase, acting as if Covid is the only risk that exists? I am praying all of them will be strong and courageous, and I am praying that the cowards who are in positions of authority will resign or be fired. And let’s be honest, if a predictable uptick in covid cases makes you panic then should you really be leading anyone or anything?

Heavenly Father, please remove the shepherds who do not care for the flock. Thank you for sending Jesus to be the one true shepherd, who not only didn’t put himself before the flock, but gave His very life so that I might have eternal life. Forgive me Lord for any cowardice or lack of trust, help me and mine to be strong and courageous. In Jesus Name, Amen.

With Love,


P.S. Since the “Pray as You Go” segment ended before I was ready to be done walking, I scrolled through my music and oddly picked a Christmas song. It was exactly what I needed to hear, and I bet it’ll bless you too. May we never forget that Hope is Alive.

P.S.S. As always, these views are my solely my own and do not reflect those of anyone I may know in healthcare.

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