I’m very grateful in general for the relatively speedy responses by government officials — from the municipal up through state and federal — to the situation that confronts us.
We may have been too slow. We may not have taken it seriously enough, early enough. We may have unwisely settled for half-measures and kept to them for too long. We may have been appallingly unprepared. There are those who probably deserve to shoulder blame for some of that, but now is not the time to gnash our teeth and wail over it, to salt one another’s wounds.
I think at times like these — and perhaps we’re simply too fortunate to have almost no firsthand experience from which to draw — that our petty divisions and our uncompromising hostility to our political opponents must be set aside.
We have too much time on our hands staring at these abominable screens — which have proved both an incredible help and a horrible hindrance. Let’s not squander the time we have blithering on about the minutiæ of policies which can never be perfect.
No one will be pleased by everything that has been decided or will be decided over the course of this crisis, but we can be silent and thankful for at least a moment that there is any bipartisan agreement at all for alleviating the worst individual and corporate outcomes of this state of emergency.
When all is said and done, whether we disagree with large-scale business bailouts and shoring up financial markets on the one hand or disagree with direct cash payments to citizens on the other, this will be the single largest initiative of government in our lifetimes to secure the commonweal. That alone, untethered from motive, is no small thing.
It will not be perfect. It is our responsibility as citizens to supply what is wanting with our own efforts in our own communities. If sovereignty is vested in us as the people collectively, if the commonwealth is therefore our sovereign responsibility, whether we are effective in getting everything done through organs of government or whether we must pursue it by private means, that responsibility remains.
Let’s take a moment to breathe and set aside our polarizing and alienating contempt for just a moment to take stock of that. Souls are souls and if this pandemic reveals anything to us, let it be that all souls are subject to the selfsame suffering, frailty of flesh, whim of nature, force of unknowing, and shock of death. We all fear. We all hurt. We all grieve.