It has been more than six months since the United States had its first confirmed case of Covid19. Since that time there have been more than 4.3 million confirmed cases and nearly 150,000 deaths in the US alone. To lend some perspective, this would be akin to having every person in Los Angeles get sick and the entire population of Anaheim, CA die.
The numbers are staggering and the long term negative impact immeasurable.
The pain and suffering that has been endured by families who have lost loved ones cannot be calculated. There are millions who are struggling due to the loss of jobs and the pending expiration of their unemployment benefits. All of this, and there is little sign that we are nearing an end to this tragic chapter.
Yet here we are in America at month six of this pandemic displaying an entitlement and collective pre-adolescent temper tantrum that history may well judge as the height of American arrogance.
Rather than “weeping with those who weep”, we have rallied against what many have deemed as an infringement on their constitutional rights (there is no basis for this), have put individualism ahead of looking out for our fellow man, have bastardized the meaning of the word sacrifice and are showing an unprecedented collective ignorance that is on full display for all to see.
Scientists and health experts continue to give dire warnings about our behaviors and the risks of this virus, including Dr. Deborah Birx who stated “What we have recommended is that 100% of people should wearing masks in any indoor public space.” However, many who have no healthcare training and no background in epidemiology, believe they know better and are the experts as indicated in this Tweet; just one of the thousands that demonstrate how obtuse we have become.
What is so staggering about this response by more than just a small minority is it demonstrates just how soft, self-centered, and lazy we as a nation have become.
When we take time to compare this to those who endured World War II; known as the Greatest Generation; their willingness to sacrifice and do what was necessary for the greater good of their fellow man, it is a shame to us all.
During that time, 16 million Americans were called to the war. Some lied about their age so they could go and serve and over 400,000 of those never came home. Many women traded in their aprons and began working in factories with Rosie the Riveter becoming a symbol of strong American women and their resolve to do their part. All were subject to rationing and turned their lights off at night to ensure they were not bombing targets.
In response to their American war crisis, Robert Citino the Executive Director of Study of War and Democracy at the World War II museum states, “It’s a big country, so there’s always going to be anomalies, but most Americans realized these things were probably necessary for the war effort and were willing to go along”. And they went along because that is what was needed to get our neighbors and fellow citizens through the war and back to normal, the normal being a love of community and compassion for each other.
Today we have been asked to do a few simple things which include washing our hands thoroughly and with regularity, wearing a mask when out in public, not congregating in large gatherings, and to socially distance. Yet this has proven too much to ask. These asks or mandates are more than we can bear and have somehow turned into an infringement on our rights and been deemed as deep sacrifices.
The response to this for many has been to delegitimize the virus, attack the health experts and make ludicrous claims that “the flu and car accidents kill people too so we should ban cars and all stay inside during flu season”. We then take pleasure in sharing our intolerance by posting about it on social media so all can participate.
Alternatively, the response has been callous as many call out that those who are dying are old or already in poor health and COVID was not the factor, but simply the thing that pushed them over the edge and with that being the case, we should open up the economy or as the illustrious Governor of Missouri stated, “get over it”.
This response by many in this country to this worldwide crisis and suffering is shameful. We have turned our back on our fellow man and exclaimed to all that we individually are the center of our universe. America, the country that was once seen as a beacon of hope, a place of refuge, a country founded on “Christian” principles, and a country that at one time collectively cared has been compromised by her own people.
Our response has been one of indifference, insensitivity, politicizing, and self-centeredness, none of which exhibit the tenets of Christianity; we alone are to blame.
To be clear, Coronavirus is not the reason for the current stance by many, it was just the final catalyst that exposed our collective hubris. This pandemic will eventually be in the past and leave its indelible mark on the world as previous pandemics have done. While it will be the subject of history our response or lack thereof will be as well.
While there is a desire to return to normal, I want nothing of it if going forward normal is individualism and entitlement.
What will it be America?