Sad Christmas, Sad Nation

From a Google Image Search – ADDitude

The coronavirus did not kill millions (yet), but it has ravaged the world’s economy and left us trying to decide if there will ever again be normal, or even a new normal. We have all lost our footing it seems, at least for a while.

And 300,000 plus deaths in America is quite enough to make a nation grieve and there will still be more people who have to die. This is even less tolerable with a vaccine that cannot be delivered in time to save them. 

Knowing how our government has abdicated responsibility for fighting the virus properly by ignoring scientists, by ordering workers to work sick, thus increasing the spread and prolonging the reign of the pandemic, is sobering. Better policy would have been to tamp down the virus first, get back to some semblance of normal second.

Watching Congress make its stingy way to deciding that the American people deserve to receive financial relief from their own government and then offering up too little, too late to actually come to the rescue of Americans in these almost unprecedented times has been disheartening. In this blighted Christmas season generosity would have lifted spirits already laid low by being forced to choose between feeding loved ones or paying rents; seeing loved ones with all the accompanying guilt, or missing loved ones to obey health guidelines; and, along the way, finding ultimate proof that Trump broke the Post Office.

Republicans in Congress, and Trump, left the states saddled with managing a national emergency, even competing with each other for scarce resources, and then they refused to bail out the states because some state leaders did not whip Americans to lie to themselves about the seriousness of the virus, and make them go to work and school as ordered. States did try to comply with heartless and unhelpful orders, but many states did so while trying to keep their constituents safe. ‘Those bleeding hearts,’ said the GOP derisively.

So death, depression, grief, poverty stalk the land while rich pols get the first vaccine shots, ostensibly to prove how safe they are, but mainly because they can.

Of course there has been concern, caring, generosity, innovation, support and hope, but very little of it came from the top down. All good flowed from the bottom up. We have certainly seen the folly of becoming a loose collection of autonomous states with an almost authoritarian strength, anything but benign, central government. What a travesty this has all been, a very devastating one at that, all because the wrong man was in the White House and his henchmen and women were in Congress and the judiciary (he thought).

There is an American spirit that can be called upon to defeat enemies, even tiny ones. Our leaders could not inspire that spirit because they are broken people who cannot comprehend the power of unity. They can only divide us and our divisions make our griefs even harder to bear. We cannot take pride in Americans who refused to do the necessary; who in the name of liberty trampled all over the best practices of liberty. 

Americans were just beginning their ‘mea culpas,’ to come down from the heights of our hubris. Can a nation that has fallen so low rise from the ashes? We elected a new ticket of leaders which might give us a chance. However, we didn’t back them up with a Congress to speed them on their way. 

Ironic that our greatest humiliation came from a man who said ‘America First’. What he should have said is ‘Americans First.’

Where will we be when this pandemic is cut down to a size we can live with? That depends entirely on ‘we the people’ and the prognosis is not good.

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