The great experiment in pandemic control has run its course and over time we will decide if it was a success or an overreaction. While my core told me that the government mandating shutting down private businesses was a bad idea, I like most were willing to trust our elected officials, assuming that they had data that we could not see.
The stated purpose, to “flatten the curve” so as not to overwhelm our medical system was logical; it made sense. And so, most freedom loving Americans accepted the burden and stopped congregating.
The truth is that many businesses were already closing their doors before the mandates, as free people. Then the absurdity started, no access to parks, no working at government identified “non-essential” jobs, in some states no driving to your own cottage on the lake or fishing from a motorized boat or sitting on a beach!
Well, the curve is flattened and in over 90% of the country not only did our medical system not come close to overload but just the opposite, medical care personnel are being furloughed!
We know of the Greatest Generation, that generation of our parents or grandparents. They earned this title because they lived through possibly the most horrendous and stupendous half-century in modern human history when we take into account the sheer numbers of human beings who suffered and died, and who thrived and blossomed. They were human beings just like us.
That generation started in the Great Depression when unemployment and personal wealth was at historical lows. Many of their parents struggled to find food for their families and took no vacations, rather they scratched for work. Others of the time gave what they could to help neighbors even if it was a scarce offering. All of them were human beings just like us.
Then came the world war with new-found mechanization that made the destruction and death easier than ever before. The Nazis rolled over all of Europe and undertook ethnic genocide on a scale never known. The Russians piled bodies on top of each other as the only means to slow the Nazi onslaught. The Italian Fascists joined the fight for control. Simultaneously, the Army and Navy of the Imperial Japanese subjugated and slaughtered peoples of Asia and the Pacific. All of them too, were human beings just like us.
Our parents/grandparents embarked on a great mission to end the totalitarianism and slaughter. Those young men shipped overseas by the millions and back home the men and women joined together to begin production of hardware at a pace and level never before seen in history.
While the troops slogged in the snow or sand, forests and jungles, rode on the oceans and flew overhead, killing and dying, exhibiting acts of heroism and acts of inhumanity, back home the people gathered scrap for raw materials and shopped with ration tickets to limit hoarding and shortages. All of them, at their best and at their worst shared fear and resolve, human beings just like us.
The war was won, and the new world order was struck. The free world, led by the USA, embarked on a period of growth and entrepreneurship and wealth never before seen at such a scale in the history of mankind.
On the other side of the globe, people who had been willing to sacrifice all to stop the Nazis fell into life in a totalitarian socialist nation that surrounded the motherland by military subjugation of neighboring counties on all sides in the name of security. The result was the deaths of tens of millions of combined “citizens” of the USSR as a means of control and to feed Moscow. Borders were not guarded to keep others out, rather to keep all in.
Collectively, the USA and the USSR built armaments of nearly god-like powers of destruction to keep the other at bay. Not to be outdone, Mao’s Chinese Communist government systematically murdered over 100 million of their citizens to install that totalitarian rule that exists to this day and on whose hands is the blood of all who have and who will suffer and die from this virus. And still, the free and the enslaved, the benevolant and the tyrants were all human brings just like us.
That American generation brought to bear our technological might to journey to the moon, to walk on that orb that has watched over us since the dawn of time and by which we learned to count the seasons and the months. We did this multiple times and expanded the knowledge of our human race and created the information economy. The men and women who made this happen were all human beings just like us.
Now, removed by one or two generations from all of this triumph and tragedy, all of this destruction and greatness, we fear returning to work because of a new virus?
Make no mistake, our forefathers of that generation never wanted their prodigy to know the suffering that they lived. But, we also may never know the resolve and the bravery that they lived.
In our relative comfort and wealth we have become separated from life and in some ways from reality. Of course there is risk associated with returning to our lifestyle that we took for granted just over a month (!) ago. Of course we don’t want to see suffering, only sociopaths do.
But there remains suffering as we hunker down. People get sick and — yes — people die and not only by the Wuhan flu; illness and death are guaranteed in life. And millions suffer as they stress over keeping a roof, feeding their children, worrying for their parents. That stress is real and the resulting pain and suffering is real. It turns out that you can, for a while hide from illness and death but ultimately you cannot run from it.
We must return to work, return to life. Those who are at high risk need to do what is right for themselves and limit social intercourse. The young and healthy need to respect that they could be spreading this disease without even knowing it, so we all should wear masks inside of heavily travelled enclosed spaces, at least for a while. Maintain the habit of keeping your hands clean. All of this we can do and get back to life.
Neanderthals lived in caves; they are no longer with us. Our ancient forefathers explored and spread across the world. All that we are is the result of thousands of years of strife and disease and war, of love and learning, of peace and prosperity. And all of them were human beings just like us.
God bless you and yours.
Peachtree City, Ga.