United We Stand!
Owning the building where you work offers many advantages! Today, we are taking one of them. We first displayed this flag shortly after September 11, 2001. COVID-19 is a different kind of "attack," but this is most assuredly a two-front war: a public health crisis AND an economic crisis.
We ARE GOING to disagree on the specifics of how to fight both fronts. Fair enough, we are Americans and we are a messy, prickly, brilliant people. Once again, our first responders are setting an example. Like those doctors and nurses working in this Queens hospital where 13 people died yesterday. In this fight, we are going to have to expand the definition of "first responders" to include grocery store clerks, stockers, and the truckers that continue to keep our grocery stores stocked. Under normal circumstances, we give them little to no mind. That has forever changed.
It is also private companies stepping into the breach and doing things that "models" can't predict to help stem the tide. Hearing that the military is bringing a hospital ship to New York, Carnival Cruise Lines has offered some of its shuttered cruise ships to be used as auxiliary hospital beds should the need arise. GM, Ford, and 3M are partnering to mass manufacture ventilators and masks to fill the gaps in demand for ventilators. It is a thousand different labs working together and separately across our country to develop treatments and possible vaccines for COVID-19. News reports frequently indicate that it will take 12-18 months to develop a vaccine, but we wouldn't bet against these men and women to destroy those expectations and deliver something much sooner.
Now, the fight has spread to the economy. With jobless claims in excess of 3 million, four times greater than any previous report, and most likely far worse in reality, we are entering territory uncharted in our history. A mere 30 days ago, we were marveling at a thriving economy continuing to create jobs at a record pace. Now we are in a free fall. Lives are being impacted in ways that may end up being far worse and lasting than the actual virus (except of course for the lives lost to COVID-19). This is just the beginning of the economic fight. We will come back just like we always do. We should take comfort that December 8th, 1941 and September 12, 2001 were very scary days as well. It will not be easy, but we can take comfort in the fact that we are resolved and united to help those affected and bring our economy back. President Trump's comments about opening the country by Easter may be a too rosy prediction for the epicenters of the outbreak, but no one should doubt that it is an aspiration shared by every American. We want to go back to work!
Please let us do something odd and express some sympathy for politicians. Our political leaders are in a tough spot. Just like every other human being, they under-react and then tend to over-react to "fix" the initial response. Everyone has an opinion about what should or should not be done, but let's have a little empathy for the men and women placed in these positions of authority. They will err. But, they have been given the responsibility for making that decision by God and us. Does that mean we should just shut up and do what we're told?
HELL NO! They need to hear from us ESPECIALLY when we think they are making a mistake - whether that is a mistake about our public health or our economy. This is how America works. This is how America succeeds. This is the way it has always been. It's messy. Very often it is inefficient and slow at the beginning. But, given a little bit of time it is beautiful to behold. This will be true as long as we are a free people and as long as we appreciate the blessings of that liberty and from whence they came.
So, whether you are working from home or still at work, whether you live in a city shut down or a community wondering what all the fuss is about, fly your flag. That is always how Americans have expressed unity of purpose and effort. It is time to unfurl it now.