Thing Happen, But Life Goes On

Posted on April 1, 2020


If there was a school for columnists or Op-ed writers, I am almost sure it would find the best applicants among those who always saw something bad or ugly in our world. Call them pessimists, nay sayers, or other appellations that connote a spirit or consciousness always with a dark and stormy cloud riding in the sky to dampen their joy or happiness. After all, does “good” news sell? No, of course not. Bad news is what keeps us listening to podcasts, newscasts, tweets, and even sometimes reading newspapers to keep up with what awful things happened yesterday in our neighborhood or in some recondite corner of the world in Africa, Asia, or Latin America. Or, even better, live streaming, something bad is happening right now, breaking news. I always thought “breaking” referred to “right now,” but the more I think about it, I like the old breaking, like my bike broke and I had to walk. Something is always breaking in our world and we want to hear it right now.

So, I promised myself not to write about the Corona virus or the swooning Stock Market since the two subjects monopolize today’s news. You get enough already without me adding my two cents.

But, of course, I failed in my steadfast determination to avoid those subjects so dramatically altering our lives today. First and foremost, I am proud of my people, you and me, for responding with such devotion to the Corona crisis. By the way, I have never quite figured how a popular Mexican beer got so maligned by being attached to a flu virus, but I didn’t look it up in my instant online Wikipedia answerbook/encyclopedia. My innate sense of the silly wondered, however, if the next epidemic coming down the line might be the Dos Equis version of the Corona one. Mexican beer makers should complain to someone in China.

Why am I proud, in a good way, not the old Biblical version of pride as an ugly sin. I agree totally with that one. But I am proud of people, by the tens of millions, responding to do what is best not simply for themselves, but also for others, in a giving, generous, thoughtful, loving fashion today. With great equanimity—“we are in this together and we will resolve it together”—tens of thousands have closed their shops and businesses, stopped the sports world we love so much, schools closed and we even stopped congregating in churches and rock concerts to observe the instructions coming from the government to observe “social distancing” in mind, and make it happen, as the principal way of controlling the spread of the virus.

Sure, spring breakers in their bikinis on the beaches of Florida had to be chased off their spawning grounds, and Stock Market watchers are wondering how they will survive as their savings and investments decrease by a third, more or less, and hoarders hit the grocery stores with a passion, focusing their fear on grabbing all the toilet paper in sight, but most of us—like our grandparents, and their grandparents, and on back down, or up, the chain of generations—sucked it up.

Disaster watchers turned to the networks to become quick experts in history and discovered that we have survived everything from the Spanish flu of 1919 and the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, to name one natural and one man-made horror, and came back. Thousands and actually millions died worldwide due to the 1919 flu, and Pearl Harbor kicked off our war lives against the Japanese and German military juggernauts in which tens of thousands of young Americans perished in battles. But we persisted and we destroyed the most powerful war machines for evil the world had ever seen.

That we are bickering in the halls of Congress and arguing publicly on how to deal with these double threats to our lives is just the free democratic process at work. Nonetheless, I am constantly astounded at how a national crisis brings out both the best and the worst of us.

Political maneuvering to bring your pet projects into the equation of major bills drafted principally and solely to deal with the virus and the stock market is incredible. But the stories of people helping people are so filled with love and unselfish devotion to one’s fellow Americans as to overshadow the pettiness that sometimes characterizes the political process.

Finally, all of the above has brought us closer to the God of our fathers who continues to reign and cover us as he has since time began. Many of us put our trust in him to take care of us through all trials, or as our national motto summarizes it, “In God we Trust.” God bless you all and keep the faith.

By the way, for all you survivors, Dollar General has a lot of toilet paper. Need to address the practical as well as the sublime in times of crisis.

Published as “Crisis brings out the worst and best,” The Tuscaloosa News, Sunday March 29, 2020.

Posted in: Corona virus