“If you will it, it is no dream.” — Theodor Herzl

I get it: it’s been a long four months. But do I have to wear a Tom Hanks T-shirt along with my facemask to remind people to ease up on the parties?

We’re currently in a weird state of schizophrenia, seeing COVID cases skyrocket across the country while New York continues to flatten its once-bulging curve. But relatively low numbers here shouldn’t suddenly give us a license to ill.

Too many of our neighbors are trying to wish a virus away, throwing the equivalent of hurricane parties as the coronavirus is lurking around the corner. Sure, I’d rather do something besides watch Netflix or read a book every night, but it’s not exactly like someone is asking me to sleep in a subway tunnel to avoid Nazi bombs.

Maybe it’s unfair to expect people not to party down when the White House all but rolled out the red carpet to celebrate July 4th and essentially held a “Save Mount Rushmore” rally on the previous day.

One of the internal contradictions in America is that while we’re a country that celebrates independence, you can’t be totally independent if you want to live in civil society. You can do your own thing — until you can’t. And when your personal decision not to wear a mask can affect my life, it’s not just your free-wheeling lifestyle anymore.

International tough guys like Boris Johnson and Jair Bolsonaro are living proof that you can’t out-bluster a virus. It’s a lesson that the president is still struggling to grasp. In the meantime, it’s apparently up to us to lead by example.

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