As we approach the Thanksgiving/Christmas holiday season, I think we have good reason to be thankful for the way things have turned out this year. Employment data indicate that the state’s construction employment market is among the healthiest in the nation, and there are plenty of exciting new projects under-way or planned for 2022.
There are problems, of course, including cost inflation, skilled trades shortages, and uncertainty about the political environment, including (to me) strange decisions where people resist public health measures such as vaccinations and masks because of a perceived fear of government intrusion into their lives.
Yes, we should have the right to choose whether we are vaccinated; but equally, employers have the right to insist that employees are protected – to protect other workers, clients and suppliers (and their health insurance costs). To me, it also seems perfectly reasonable that if you are at risk of spreading a deadly infectious disease and you choose not to take measures to protect yourself from being a “spreader”, then you should be denied access to places where you could cause harm to others.
I hope I’m not flamed for expressing these views – but I’m getting fed up with people who conflate ideology and science, who accept “truth” based on social media posts from insular groups and who sense there is some great conspiracy out there to cause harm, without thinking about how they developed these perspectives.
And if you think I’m some lefty liberal, please note that I developed my perspectives some decades ago by living through the conclusion of the Rhodesia/Zimbabwe civil war as a journalist. By the time I left that African nation in 1980, I realized that both the Left and Right are quite good at propagating myths and the truth is often somewhere outside the extremes. Unbridled socialism leads to corruption and poverty, of course, but unthinking assertions of personal rights sometimes can be distorted into allowing selfishness and greed to dominate our decisions.
Now, I’ll get off my soap-box. Most of us are indeed quite fortunate and there are many good things to look forward to as 2021 concludes and the New Year approaches. I hope you enjoy a healthy, happy and prosperous year ahead.
Mark Buckshon is president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies, which publishes North Carolina Construction News. He can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.