WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER
By LARRY BENNETT • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
The title of this column is, “We are all in this together.” It’s a statement of a simple reality, but it’s also a dream about working together that I wish to be true for everyone – from our town, to our state, to our nation, to our world.
Now that the world is all in this together with the COVID-19 nightmare, it’s useful to look at how we are responding to the crisis.
Different nations are taking different paths, some more successful than others.
Early on China exercised its authoritarianism to suppress the bad news, until the bad news became insuppressible. Then it used that same authority to impose a lockdown that seems to have worked to slow the spread.
In Europe the spread was treated somewhat predictably. In Italy, never a nation known for its governmental stability and consistency, the virus raged out of control for weeks until the political became less important that the practical.
In Germany, a nation where discipline and high regard for democratic authority is combined with governmental compassion for all its people, the outbreak has been minimized as much as seems possible. The German government explained its reasoning and rules fully and enabled its citizens to comply.
Sweden, a bit of an odd outlier, chose to not impose a strict response, believing in its ability to weather the storm differently. Their decision now seems foolhardy, as cases there grow.
In the U.S. we know what happened. The president, never one to consider the facts when his instincts tell him differently, decided the economy – and his election prospects – were more important than anything else.
Used to blustering and bluffing his way out of tight spots, he gambled that he could do the same here. But no one can bluff biology and he failed miserably.
The U.S., with 1/20th of the world’s population, now has over one quarter of the world’s cases (555,000 cases out of 1.8 million) and almost 20 per cent of the deaths (22,000 out of 113,000).
Still, even as the president continues to misrepresent the truth and as he tries to present himself as our war leader, I think we, the nation and the entire world, have come together. We have a newfound appreciation for our medical professionals who have proved to be amazingly courageous and dedicated, literally the heroes of this disaster.
When the pandemic comes under control, I think we will all be more willing to offer stronger support for them, to fund more medical research, and to try to implement a more equitable health care system.
Another way we have come together is in reconsidering and adjusting our relationships with other people. Millions are hurting, are running low on food and other essentials, and are out of financial resources. Americans are responding by building up food banks, by donating to helping causes, by doing tasks for others who can’t do them.
Many companies, even as they are being battered economically, are doing more to assist their communities. State governments, often derided as ineffective and bureaucratic, have stepped up to support, protect, and lead their citizens.
Many national governments, notably excluding ours, along with international institutions and corporations, are beginning to work together more effectively to share assistance and information.
To be sure, there are exceptions to the above, and we are far from winning this battle, but there is reason for hope. There is mounting daily evidence that people can rise above their own self-interest and work for the greater good. There is more proof we are all in this together, and for the better.
Finally, I’d like to remind us all that we can play a part. We can find a way to help today. Needs are everywhere. Contact your church, your food bank, your local government, and local charities.