Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Ed Gray, NDG Senior Columnist: COVID-19 and the United States

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Schriever Air Force Base leaders are implementing changes in daily operations and asking Airmen to practice social distancing, quarantine or isolation measures in an effort to slow the disease’s spread. Airmen are encouraged to exercise caution and sound judgment to avoid large, close-contact gatherings (15 or more people) to the maximum extent possible. Handshaking and other forms of physical contact are discouraged. (U.S. Air Force graphic by Airman Amanda Lovelace)

Straight Talk with Ed Gray

The COVID Pandemic is with us, and with that, we must accept our lives are forever changed.

It seems after a month of endless stories regarding the pandemic, here is another news story on how the COVID-19 epidemic will change our lives forever. Do not assume this is the final call, but it is instead a call to action.

To begin with, I will never look at toilet paper again, in the same way. Before I go on, toilet paper is not something you use; it is something you store and wait for the upcoming Apocalypse. The Apocalypse is here, and as we get used to a hellish new normal, we ask each other, when will it end?

The President of the United States is the moral arbiter of our hopes and dreams. The President is responsible for calming our fears and motivating us to act. Presidents see in our base moments, reasons to rise above our base; it is not a reason to play to the base bottom. President Trump listening to his political base, is partially responsible for our current dilemma.

President Donald Trump played to his base when he should have been building our country up to defend against the unseen enemy, which is COVID-19. America finds itself in the precarious situation of having fewer hospital beds than Italy, which until recently had more illness reported than China.

We find ourselves in a shortage of means. These means affect our livelihood and our future. In addition to the toilet paper, there are shortages in other essential commodities, like paper towels, bananas, and water,—these items before COVID-19 were taken for granted.

As we all lineup, maintaining the required six feet of social distancing as if COVID-19 germs can count in feet. We no longer can take for granted our health will not be affected by something as random as a sneeze. What is not random is a country’s willingness to act, and our responsibility to act.

We all, whether the President of the United States or each other, must adequately prepare for the next crisis. It may either be a manmade event, a pestilence, or a pandemic, but we must prepare for that event. We now have experience in testing our patience and testing our will. What should never be tested again is our preparation.

I am Ed Gray, and this is Straight Talk.

Ed Gray is a presidential scholar at Southern Methodist University. He is the host of The Commish Radio Show airing Saturdays 3-5 p.m. on FBRN.net, can be reached at eegray62@att.net. NDG was awarded NNPA’s 2018 Robert S. Abbott Best Editorial for Gray’s “Confederate Statues: The White Man’s Burden” column.

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