The Chinese Wuhan Coronavirus is nothing to laugh about. It’s proven a highly contagious virus with mild symptoms for some and deadly symptoms for others especially the elderly and those with chronic medical conditions. Each of us need to take it seriously. Not illogically or in a constant state of anxiety. Look for the calm in the storm.
Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end. Proverbs 15:18
The CDC estimates influenza cases for the United States in the current flu season may be as high as 54 million with deaths as high as 59,000. We have a vaccine for the flu, but it doesn’t always hit every strain of the flu virus and many people refuse to take it. The flu doesn’t seem to worry us much.
As of today, March 27, 2020 (at the end of the normal flu run), worldwide Coronavirus cases are documented at 550,530 with 24,903 deaths. In the United States there are 85,755 cases with 1,304 deaths. We hear they’re working on a vaccine although this is strain 19 of the coronaviruses. Many people won’t take the vaccination. Scientists, epidemiologists, virologists et al are making predictions all over the place, but none seem ready to declare the virus is seasonal as is the flu. Some studies suggest the virus spreads in regions where the average temperature is below 68 meaning it could last through April in the US Midwest and Northeast.
Panic Politics and Pork
What did we do about it? We created panic. I’m sure many people working our country through the pandemic are doing their best wanting only to help our people. Certainly, the frontline doctors, nurses, and EMTs are. God bless them. Information is varied and often sensationalized. People try to lay blame at the feet of a person or agency when they should be pointing the finger due east. Let’s battle the virus, not one another. Local and national news casts are non-stop coronavirus. No one reports the positive. Most people recover. States, like mine, with rural communities not nearly as devastated as cities like New York are also shutdown. Schools closed, events cancelled, “non-essential” businesses closed, workers laid off and people are sitting home anxiously waiting for the daily briefing only to hear they’re still on statewide lock-down with no end in sight. Where’s the hope? Then along comes the government’s big economic boost, generous tax rebates, federal add on to state’s unemployment, loans to small businesses, corporate loans, etc. and 75 million each to the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The Smithsonian Institution gets 7.5 million and the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts gets 25 million. And before it came to this, there was billions more in pork holding up the aid.
Washington Remains Broken
Once again, Washington has demonstrated some things for us. Foremost the United States Congress, as a deliberative body, is not capable of addressing a specific problem without adding pork to it then write it off by saying well it’s not as bad as it could have been. We just had to give up some pork to get what we needed. If we are throwing millions of American’s tax dollars toward something having nothing to do with the problem, the yes, it’s as bad as it could have been. Sad state of affairs. Out the other side will be tax increases. You can bet on that. This shows us every Washington politician, not just Pelosi, loves the pork and they’ll never pass legislation to end it.
Most importantly Washington demonstrated that crises such as this are opportunities. It’s reported that House Majority Whip Congressman James Clyburn declared about the coronavirus relief package, “this is a tremendous opportunity to restructure things to fit our vision.” The House of Representatives just approved and 8,800-page bill. As Ms. Pelosi once surmised, guess we’ll have to read it to see what’s in it. Is Mr. Clyburn’s vision in there?
When they’re wound up, their words tell us how they really feel like Nancy Pelosi’s rant where she declared, “…I think that we owe the American people to be there for them, for their financial security, respecting the dignity and worth of every person in our country, and if there’s some collateral damage for some others who do not share our view, well, so be it…” She achieved that. Americans waiting for needed financial security to make it through the panic came in second fiddle to the Endowments for the Arts, and Lord know what else in that 8,800 pages, making blue-collar America her collateral damage, so be it. Understand this about Washington Politicians and Federal Government Workers in general. There are many good people among them always trying to do the right things for people (I was one for 44 years.), but they don’t lose a paycheck during times like these so delaying needed help to fill a personal shopping list of pork means nothing to a hack politician except maybe, some collateral damage. The gains in retirement accounts and blue-collar jobs gained over the past three years is up in smoke. What did some Senators do right after a secret briefing on the coronavirus? They dumped their stocks. That’s not exactly looking out for the little guy now, is it?
How did we respond to the generated panic out here in America’s towns and cities? We ran out and bought all the toilet paper. A few weeks of non-perishable food, water, cleaning products, over the counter medicines and yep, even toilet paper is a good idea. As I was recently reminded by Dee Armstrong. Here in the land of plenty, unlike our politicians who have their shopping lists prepared for the opportunity a painful crisis provides, we the people never seem prepared.
There is another piece of this that’s been on my mind since the beginning and it’s summed up in a Benjamin Franklin quote: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
We must be careful of what we embrace. I’ve read calls for martial law, calls to nationalize industries all together with being virtually imprisoned in our homes. We’ve easily accepted restrictions on our freedoms and liberty under the pretext of safety and appear gleeful to accept government control through monetary payments and robust unemployment. Let’s consider our freedom and how difficult it is, once we give it away, to get it back. Ponder what our country will be when it comes out the other side of this. Be assured, it will not be the same.
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery. Galatians 5:1 (NIV)
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