“First of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
This quote came up in a recent conversation I had with my good friend James Hines. We were discussing current events and sharing theories of how our country was going to move forward. This is something I have been mulling over for months now. Why hasn’t America had a plan for dealing with Covid-19 and our nation’s recovery?
The first case in the US was nearly four months ago and other than the phased reopening plan, there hasn’t been a clearly communicated plan for the country’s response to the pandemic or what we’re going to do as a result of it.
Now our country is more fragmented than ever, casting dirty looks at each other based on whether or not we’re wearing a mask, and fighting each other on issues we have no control over. The disharmony has been roiling for much longer, but this current situation is bringing things to a head.
There are many examples of Americans coming together for a common cause – the New Deal, World War II, the 9/11 response to name a few. That is not to say I support the results of all those examples – the point is, the American people respond in big ways when duty calls. The difference this time is no leader has organized the American people behind a common cause.
What has happened is political leaders on all sides are name-calling, pointing fingers, shifting blame, and avoiding responsibilities to us, the unemployed, the sick, and the dying. This pandemic cannot be fought on a local or state level. There are measures that can be taken on these levels, but a national problem demands a national response.
One of Harry S Truman’s most famous quotes is “The Buck Stops Here” because he took responsibility for his decisions and their effects on others. There is a distinct lack of this mentality in Washington DC and it is hurting all of us.
Another one of Harry S Truman’s famous quotes is “The Marshall Plan will go down in history as one of America’s greatest contributions to the peace of the world.” Truman became president on the heels of World War II and led a nation unified by the war to the common goal of rebuilding the global economy.
This is the type of leadership we have needed since the pandemic first hit our shores. We are all hurting in one way or another and at the same time, we are all wanting better things for ourselves, our friends and family, and our country.
I see the activism on all sides as evidence that Americans want to take action – we want to rally around a common cause for the betterment of those we care about. Americans are clearly ready to join a cause, fight for their rights, fight the enemy, and even take up arms but who is the enemy?
I am having a hard time seeing how America recovers from these past few months without clear communication from our leaders. We are currently fighting ourselves, but we are not our enemy. As things stand, China is being made out to be our enemy, but we are an angry nation that has been at war with ourselves for years… and the powers-that-be use that to keep us divided, angry, and at war.
We’re all scared of what a virus is doing to the country, but we’re all capable of overcoming it for something greater than ourselves. As long as we are afraid of and running away from the other political party, politicians, media, and anyone who holds different views, we will not be able to “convert retreat into advance” and overcome the fear that is ripping this country apart.