We have always been asked as American citizens to make sacrifices. You cannot go to war without expecting somebody to die. The only hope is that your opponent will feel more pain than you do. In war that measure is casualties. Whether it’s the Civil War, The Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, Viet Nam, The Gulf, Iraq, or Afghanistan, the loss of human life is tremendous, whether it is us or our adversaries.
Now we are faced with a new challenge. Over 150 counties worldwide are facing and epidemic called the COVID-19. It brings with is massive illness and loss of life. We have seen pictures of Italy where the hospitals cannot keep up with the deaths. Public Buildings and Churches have been turned into morgues. Loved ones are not allowed to attend funerals of their deceased relatives. Parts of the country have become isolated. This has been called a pandemic and it threatens world -wide destruction and not seen in a century.
That can’t happen in America or can it? We have the best healthcare system and scientists in the world. We have wealth. We are industrialized. But we have found that wealth cannot protect you from health. Billionaires die every day. To paraphrase James Brown “money won’t save you”. We must be concerned about everybody because what happens to them affects us.
What makes this different is the sacrifices are required by everybody in this society. It doesn’t matter if you are old or young (as we are increasingly finding out), you can lose a job, or have your 401k affected or worse yet catch the COVID-19 and even die. The sacrifices are unlike war, what we expect of the young, but what we require of everyone. I remember back in the day when you reached the age of 35 you were too old to be drafted. This meant you were over the hump and were destined to live the rest of your life without fear of losing it in a war. That was great consolation.
So here we are. We are confined to our houses in something that is called social distancing. Millions of people have been asked to go home perhaps never to return as unemployment has soared as the nation struggles with an unprecedented epidemic . Our only hope is that we can “bend the curve” and not overwhelm our healthcare system while a vaccine is developed. Unfortunately that will not mean that the total lives lost will be reduced. It only means the peak will be reduced and the virus is here longer. We are in for a tough spell.
I, for one, will do as recommended. I want to live as long as I am given and I certainly do not want to be responsible for another person’s illness or even death. If my small contribution makes this world safer, then I am more than happy to do my part. I think there is a brighter day to come. I am anxious to vote in November and I hope we can do better. No matter how fast you are, it is difficult to win a race when you give your opponent enough of a head start. I am afraid this is a position we find ourselves in as a country to with this COVID-19. Though it might be nobody’s fault, we have could have made better decisions - and much earlier. Maybe we could have even saved some lives.