In his inaugural address, FDR bellowed the phrase, “…the only thing we have to fear is fear itself!” Viewed critically, it was a nonsensical utterance. But everyone knew what he meant so it went over well. And there was validity in the point. Sadly, Roosevelt would spent the next 9 years exploiting that same fear and exacerbating the depression he was addressing here. And that is instructive for today.
After Dunkirk, Churchill said, “Wars are not won by evacuations.”
Are we at war? That is not a rhetorical question. We have been hearing for several weeks now that we are at war with a virus. If the government, state and federal, are serious then we are losing this war – badly- and needlessly.
And what of our fears? We have been conditioned, far too easily, to live our lives based entirely on our fears. I would argue that fear is being amplified beyond reason more every day.
So I’ll ask again, are we at war?
How did we fight WWII? Did we try every way conceivable to avoid battle because someone might get hurt or even die? Was there a rush to gather our troops into the barracks, encouraging them to find ways to entertain themselves as means of achieving victory?
I know what you are thinking. Don’t even try it. You see where I am going and you are about to tell me the soldiers in our present scenario are first responders and essential businesses. They must fight on the beaches, landing grounds, hills and streets, etc. It is our job to stay home. That is how we beat Corona.
You are wrong if that is how you see our present situation. This is a multi-theater war, just like WWII. We have the medical theater. That runs the gambit from standing 6 feet from each other, to those first responders doing their job, to keeping the ventilators going. It is an all-hands evolution. It also requires staying home WHEN YOU ARE SICK.
It is here we have already lost the opening battles of the war. This is our Pearl Harbor and early North Africa. At the bidding of the political class we have abandoned the field to the enemy. I will demonstrate how all the theaters of this conflict are intertwined in later pieces. But for now, for us to have ANY chance of coming out of this healthy we have to adapt a war mentality.
Are we at war? Or is the war on Covid 19 just a shitty metaphor like the “war” on drugs or the “war” on poverty. Because I have to tell you those “wars” are an insult to anyone who has actually fought in a war. Those wars were lost because they were not fought. We declared the war and surrendered immediately. In both cases we subsidized the “enemy” and gave away the victory. Why are we doing this again?
We, all of the able-bodied, are the front line troops. ALL OF US. So just remaining on the medical front for now, we need to adapt the age-old attitude that has often brought about victory. You MUST decide that you already have the virus. You might as well. You most likely had it, have it or will have it when we finally stand up and start to really fight. It is ever less likely that you’ll die from it but the possibility MUST be accepted….IF we are at war.
Or we can continue to take counsel of our fears, sitting in our barracks looking at funny Facebook posts and passing thoughts and prayers back and forth to each other. This is NOT courage. And WARS require courage.
I believe we are at war. We are losing this war. It is time to see all the fronts we are fighting on clearly. There are many. And it is time to fight.