An Inconvenient Truth of Inconvenience

On 9/11/2001 America was attacked. 2,977 innocent American died as a result of this attack on American soil. The country rallied around the President, who rightfully called for an overwhelming response, and we went to war.

In February of this year, the first inkling of what would be the worst pandemic since the 1918 outbreak of the Spanish Flu began to take American lives. The President told us it would all go away in two weeks, or in a month, or by the summer, or soon.

Since that moment 311,000+ Americans have died.

On December 16, 2020, 3,611 Americans died of Covid, far exceeding the death toll of 9/11. And yet the country continues swirling in delusion over what to do. The President has moved on to a new delusion–ignoring the results of the election and claiming he single handedly developed the vaccine for a virus that was gonna fade away in the summer sun–and seething over his own inconvenient truth.

But the response, or lack thereof, to the pandemic is not all Mr. Trump’s fault. The sad fact of the matter is when it comes to reacting to problems whose solution lies in military action, blowing things up and killing people in other parts of the world, we are good at it. We’re good at it because the inconvenience of this action falls on just the shoulders of the military and their families.

But when it comes to tolerating inconvenience a little closer to home, we become a nation of whiners and criers. As a good friend of mine, Dr. Jane Auger, so aptly said,

“After 9/11 we started a war. Covid? Can’t even be bothered to wear a mask”

Dr. Jane Auger

311,000 Americans have died. Of that number, had we been willing to accept our obligation to protect ourselves and others, how many would be alive today?

Instead of our willingness to spend trillions of dollars on military capabilities, why is it we cannot be as quick to fund the means to support our economy while we practice the simple act of wearing a mask and avoiding public gatherings?

A nation that once bore the brunt of production of the materiel in a world war, that saw its people planting victory gardens and saving metal for the war effort, that saw the entire country rally behind a global cause, now is unwilling to forego happy hour or shopping at the mall because it is inconvenient.

There’s a line in the movie Patton, where George C. Scott portraying the general, exhorts his troops before battle. He says something to the effect,

“Thirty years from now when you’re sitting around your fireside with your grandson on your knee, and he asks you, “What did you do in the great World War II?” — you won’t have to say, “Well, I shoveled shit in Louisiana.”

George C. Scott as General George S. Patton

Years from now, when thinking of the Great Pandemic of 2020, many Americans may face the fact they shoveled shit in Louisiana…

The inconvenient truth is the death of many of these Americans falls on us. I hope, years from now, when you think back on those trinkets you had to have, those happy hours you couldn’t miss, those demands you made to exercise your “rights” to go to football games, you find it all worth it.

The families of who knows how many dead Americans the virus will ultimately claim won’t have that luxury.

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