“American Exceptionalism At Its Best”
E Pluribus Unum.
Out of many, One.
The American democratic experiment has indeed been exceptional. Although our deadliest war was the one against ourselves—with over 600,000 Americans dying while fighting fellow Americans in the Civil War—we are also a nation of tremendous compassion.
We lead the world in developing and carrying out non-profit initiatives. Legions of common folks volunteer in communities large and small every day. Crusades for Children. Neediest Cases Funds. Faith community outreach. During the pandemic, this still occurs.
College students are currently helping deliver millions of pounds of vegetables to folks in need. Vegetables that would otherwise have rotted on farms.
And yet, what the United States is most exceptional for these past few months and especially at the present moment is reprehensible decision making and reckless individual behaviors, culminating in national tragedy.
~Most deaths from Covid19, 122,000+ lives lost.
~So shockingly to me, a nation willing to accept over 800 deaths a day of its fellow humans—indeed, fellow Americans—mostly because, well, it’s not me or my mother on a ventilator. This is what some young folks, in particular, are saying.
~Nation most willing to subvert its own strategic reopening strategies in the midst of a pandemic. How did some states (e.g. Texas, Florida) go from restaurant closures to 75% capacity, with bars and nightclubs absolutely packed, within just a few weeks?
~Most willing to open huge theme parks in the midst of a pandemic—Universal Studios, Lego Land (Florida)…Sea World (Texas). Disney World set for reopening on July 11th (yes, even as of today).
~Nation more willing to spend precious time debating conspiracy theories and pseudo-science than taking the most basic individual actions to help protect those around us: distance, mask, hand/face hygiene.
~National leadership most willing to set reasonable public health guidelines, then abruptly denounce its own guidelines as armed Freedom Lovers descended on State buildings.
~A nation of humanity, now with a not so insignificant number of folks spitefully not wearing face coverings around others regardless of who they are—Korean and WWII veterans be damned—just to prove a political point (“Get Your Politics Off My Face!” So clever, right?)
~National leadership most willing to actively work against saving its citizens’ lives, especially the most vulnerable with preexisting conditions, as it recommends to
the nation’s highest court to eliminate completely the health care which thousands of Americans have relied upon during the pandemic.
~National leadership whose racist taunts about the virus’s origins are repeated more often than any mention of the human lives lost daily to this virus.
~National leadership consumed with megalomaniac narcissism, rather than the health and unity of our nation.
What this all means, essentially, is the USA is most exceptional at reliving this pandemic again and again. Here we are now, in a worse situation in some cities, states and regions than we found ourselves in 2 full months ago.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: 49 days.
If we had truly buckled down together, and 95% or more of Americans had simply kept physical distance, put cloth on their faces, been mindful of others around them, that’s all it would have taken.
49 days to reset our habits. To learn about the virus and what it takes to protect each other.
To separate ourselves from the infected; yes, as harsh as that sounds. But essential for a certain period of time.
[Complete closures perhaps would not even have been necessary, in my view, as curbside pick ups and deliveries could have continued.]
By now, we could be in a far better place, like Germany, Singapore, Taiwan, Iceland, New Zealand. Like the majority of nations large and small who have reopened safely.
We could actually reopen Disney World safely. We could be at 75% capacity in restaurants; possibly bars and clubs, too. Safely, yes.
We could actually plan trips to Europe. Well, scratch that off your list. Ain’t going to happen. Along with Russians (hmmmm…), the EU has just excluded Americans from its list of travelers who will be allowed to visit due to continuous spreading of the virus here.
As of today, it’s been around 100 days since many areas in the U.S. “closed down.” We can see how far that’s gotten us. Talk to the ER and ICU doctors and nurses in Arizona, Texas, Florida, Oklahoma. Learn about who we are losing each and every day.
This is REAL.
I pray there will be no more “agains.”
~Kyle Macy Hall