It’s taken a long time, a terribly long time; but it has finally happened. It has taken a pandemic of Biblical proportions coupled with an economic downturn that emotionally rivals the stock market crash of 1929. But it has happened.
Following the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Japanese in 1941, the Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto said, “I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.” Seventy-nine years later this same resolve has been unleashed and instead of the attack being perpetrated by the Imperial Navy of Japan it is a microscopic bug that originated in China. Like World War II, the attack threatens the entire world. Unlike World War II, the war is immediately worldwide and spread in an unbelievably short time.
America has agonized over the polarization it has experienced over the past 10 years. It has not been racial in nature; instead it has been political and the polarization threatened to tear our great nation apart. While some bi-partisan legislation has taken place over the years the majority of Washington has morphed from petty rivalry to outspoken hatred. The press has also transformed from reporting the news so that America can determine for itself what is right and just to becoming a biased conduit that advocates for one political party or the other.
Over the past three weeks we have witnessed a transition from petty politics, biased press, snide remarks and embarrassing actions in our national capital to a unity of resolve to take on the dreaded Coronavirus and economic fallout we are currently experiencing. America’s love for a sensational story allowed the Coronavirus to slip up on the common American. Donald Trump was being impeached and the news media was enthralled with the event. Early attempts to achieve political gain from the virus quickly fell flat. Our President closed the border with China only to have Joe Biden condemning the move and referring to the closure as being Xenophobic. Today a large number of countries have taken the same approach and have closed their borders. This includes countries stopping Americans from crossing their borders for fear that Americans will spread the virus.
As dire as our situation is, we should find solace in the knowledge that our country has united. Wounds are healing and we are becoming one nation. It feels as if a large proud family had been torn apart by some event and after a tough arduous period of time the family members are sitting together at Thanksgiving with an understanding that past events pale in comparison to being together as a family.
We know we are whole when Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez calls for unity and then later criticizes her own constituents that were partying and celebrating St. Patrick’s Day in New York. We know we are whole when Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer can sit down with Mitch McConnel, Lindsey Graham, Kevin McCarthy and other Republican leaders to hammer out a trillion-dollar bailout bill in only a few days. The most heartening example of our country becoming whole was when Joe Scarborough, devoutly a Trump antagonist, said that Trump must succeed.
The immediate future will be challenging; but nothing more than we have been up against in the past. We are a tough country that is tempered with benevolence and caring. We are at our best when faced with hardship and, what appears to be, insurmountable odds. The one thing we have to remember is that we are all in this together. There is no going out and turning the pandemic off like a television. We must face our worst fears, put on our big boy or big girl pants and make the best of a very bad situation. This situation is what we make of it and there will be plenty opportunities to provide help and relief for our fellow man.
The important thing that we must realize is that this will pass. We will emerge with a couple of bangs and bruises but we will survive.
Tuffy Fields may be reached by emailing thelouisianaexplorer@ yahoo.com.