Are We a Nation of Quitters?

To those making such statements or accepting 200,000+ premature deaths:

How cynically do you view

  • Americans to believe we can’t do more than argue about hoaxes and wearing masks amidst widespread sickness and death?
  • The federal government to think we can only blame China and the WHO while abdicating international leadership to prevent uncontrolled spread?
  • The scientific community to believe that we got caught by surprise in February?
  • The health system to think that ingenuity can only be applied to treatments and vaccines rather than preventive measures as well?
  • The CDC to think they couldn’t have overseen redundant test development to ensure a working one in the crucial early stages of community spread?

How do you square that cynicism with “American exceptionalism” or patriotism? It sounds like you’ve given up on this nation being great. In this case that would mean working together creatively and resourcefully to overcome adversity.

We did that in World War II. What we DIDN’T do: make a bunch of excuses for why nobody could stop Hitler, Tojo, and Mussolini. We punched them in their fascist faces. But only after setting aside partisanship and enlisting soldiers, workers, and corporations in the effort. And eventually leading an international coalition of like-minded countries.

Where did that kind of American toughness and spirit go? Did we panic when the Russians launched Sputnik? Or surrender when the British burned the Capital building in 1812? We need a lot more John Lewises willing to be bloodied to expose racism and fewer hucksters fixated on short-term stock prices.

We’re living through an active betrayal of some of our greatest accomplishments. Excusing corruption and incompetence compounds the failure and helps advance the agendas of autocrats like Vladimir Putin. But we have choices. One is to pick ourselves back up, acknowledge ways we’ve failed and how others have done better, and learn from both. Then we can apply those lessons to do things like:

The pandemic raging is a bit like “the bombs bursting in air.” Many self-described “patriots” seem to be waiving a white flag. What might we achieve if instead we responded like those who made it possible for us to be here? This isn’t over. We can and must do better.

Love,

A Believer

Non-profit founder, musician, coach, X-C skier/CrossFitter, artist, concerned citizen, mammal (not necessarily in that order). See https://weems.works for more.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Recommended from Medium

8 Life Lessons That We Have Learned In 2020

WE DON’T KNOW

The Impossible Quest of Trump’s Most Ardent Supporters

COVID: It’s More Than About You or Me

The Age of Miracles is the Age of Isolation

How the Census Helps Us Serve People Better

This Crisis Is Worse than You Think, and Won’t End with a New Year

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Tyson Victor Weems

Tyson Victor Weems

Non-profit founder, musician, coach, X-C skier/CrossFitter, artist, concerned citizen, mammal (not necessarily in that order). See https://weems.works for more.

More from Medium

“Cobra Kai” is All About Diversity and Inclusion

What Meta means for Netizens?

Why ASU Should Look Into Climate Change Solutions

This Week Outside: Side Effects May Include a Weakened Geopolitical Response

Multi-color oil barrels behind a chainlink fence.