I am thoroughly discouraged. But my glass is still half-full.
First, let me tell you why I’m thoroughly discouraged. When the coronavirus came to our attention in January and February, we were told it would go away when it warmed up in April. By the time April rolled around, it was exploding and we weren’t doing anything about it – we thought it would be over by summer. Now here we are with school ready to start and it is still surging. It has killed over 170,000 people and will probably reach 200,000. We’re largely ignoring good medical advice while pouring into bars, concerts, big meetings and the motorcycle rally at Sturgis, S.D. – 250,000 motorcycles and no masks. Without leadership, we have totally fumbled the ball with covid 19.
Meanwhile, starting school from kindergarten to university level is a risky scramble of doubtful choices and we’re missing entire sports seasons, church services and concerts, postponing weddings and funerals, following rules or ignoring them, depending about how much we care about the health of others. Wearing masks or refusing masks, etc., and the mess goes on and on with no solution in sight. Will we be saved by a vaccine? When? I’m missing my friends and the routine of normal life.
My heart goes out to the businesses that have closed or will close and the employees forced into slow down or unemployment. What’s the result? Evictions and foreclosures. Financial hardship. The economy is a disaster. The federal and state governments have provided a partial bailout and stimulus but not enough. And now congress is deadlocked about doing more.
Have you noticed the cost of groceries going through the roof?
Did I mention politics? Has it ever been worse? It gets nastier and nastier every day and the upcoming elections give us some scary issues to worry about: voter suppression, slowing down the Postal Services, absentee ballots, mail-in voting, possible confusion in the electoral college, foreign adversaries attempting to manipulate our voting process, and even the possibility of the president refusing to leave office if defeated. Meanwhile, we ignore climate change and insult our allies.
Yes, all this is discouraging. Yet, in my mind, my glass is still half full. Why?
You could call part of it blind patriotism. This country has survived British rule, a Civil War, two world wars, Korea, Vietnam, 9-11, Iraq, Afghanistan and more global skirmishes than we can remember. We have led the world in space exploration, science and medicine, we are better educated than anywhere on earth and we have the RIGHT STUFF to survive even if we seem to be stumbling along right now. Is that naïve? Yes, but that’s an ingredient that gets us through tight squeezes. It’s part of the American can-do spirit, the spirit of optimism.
We have millions of Americans who are good people who want to do the right things. I have confidence in the goodness of the American people – my friends and neighbors. Time is a healer if we have the patience and persistence to try to work our way out of our problem.
What else does it take to keep the glass half full? Not only hope, but faith. Lincoln called on God for strength and guidance at the time of the Civil War, the worst crisis in our history and we must keep the faith.
One more thing – leadership. Who will step up and say, “the buck stops here” and take up the challenge?