I remember the sacrifices of WWII. We can band together for COVID-19 (Opinion)
The sacrifices being asked of Americans during the novel coronavirus pandemic are extraordinary. As of this writing, New Jersey has shut down any open-to-the-public business deemed non-essential. Restaurants can't have customers dine in. Everyone's been told to work from home. And countless people are suddenly out of work, or unable to get any hours at jobs that just can't make use of them.
We're used to creature comforts, and now even those of us still employed and still healthy have to put many aside.
So Jim Gearhart asks: "Can the most spoiled, frantically self-indulgent, self-absorbed population on the Earth morph into self-sacrificing, self-disciplined, responsible, socially-concerned population?"
Jim conducted this week's discussion with Bob Williams from afar. Jim, an octogenarian, and Bob, a kidney transplant survivor, are both in the high-risk group for complications from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coroanvirus. Even if they weren't, public officials say everyone should minimize all the in-person contact they can, to slow the spread enough for our healthcare system to keep up.
It's a big request of a society that values individual freedom and agency.
But Jim has memories of the Great Depression. He remembers World War II.
"Everybody felt they were in the same boat," Jim says. "Consequently, there was very little of this bickering, arguing."
We had a little taste of that all-in-it-together resolve after 9/11, too, Jim said -- though politics and divides over the wars that follow put an end to much of it. Still, Jim says, he's seen what sort of a people we can be when faced with adversity.
"I'm rather hopeful."
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That's just part of what Jim and Bob Williams take on in the latest installment of his show, also available as a podcast. Check out the full episode to hear the rest.
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