Age, general health and social makeup of each of us make tremendous differences in how we approach and cope with today’s fast-changing world.
For those of us at the upper end of the spectrum there are calls from a certain segment of society that we must be willing to “die for the Dow.” Literally, there are howls from certain media outlets and groups that make this our destiny, that encourage the medical field to just write us off so that supplies and medicine can be directed to the young and so the rest of the world can get back to worrying about the economy rather than the pandemic.
This is a huge turn from our nation’s wars when the young were called to save our democracy – not our dollars.
For the youngsters among us, the current dual crises of the pandemic and the economic collapse is utterly devastating. They can’t understand the need to self-isolate, or stay at home when they are at an age for parties and fun. They can’t understand why jobs must disappear for now. Unemployment is rocketing upward even as the Dow makes a hesitating recovery. But we are far from a stable economy and a healthy populace. The youngsters need to understand that the older generation has much to share, much to give and a much greater perspective. When the youngsters ignore the social restrictions now being imposed or yet to come they directly endanger the oldsters. Their parent and grandparents. The parents and grandparents of others. The political leadership of the nation – many of whom are old.
But the intense feelings against social isolation are not restricted to the young. Many of the older folks chafe at the restrictions. Extroverts find it very, very depressing and discouraging to be cut off from their normal social outlets – golf, bridge, shopping, parties, dinners and more. It is very difficult to accept that the world’s longest border, the 5,525 mile line between the U.S. and Canada, is not fully open today due to restrictions imposed by each nation. It is hard to contemplate that Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, is suffering from the Corona virus.
Our society has seen a lot of this before. The Great Depression – 1929-1941 – disrupted the lives of millions. World War II did so as well, putting millions of women to work for the first time. Before all that in the U.S prohibition sent women to the speakeasies alongside their men because Americans, like Canadians, simply don’t like to be told what to do. The Spanish flu of 1918-1919 killed tens of thousands in a manner much like the Corona virus of today. There were no individual funerals. Obituaries – those last words of kindness about a departed one – consisted of a list of names of those who had died. Burials were often en masse.
The aftermath of 9/11 devastated many lives, disrupting trade and the economy. The financial collapse of 2007-2008 engendered great distrust in a U.S. government that gave away billions intended to help the economy, but resulting mainly in further enriching the rich. The $2+ trillion stimulus working its way through the U.S. Congress this week is likely to do much the same, though it is spreading some crumbs for the working class, or at least for those who pay income taxes.
If there were magical solutions, we all would be wildly waving our wands. But, alas, there are no magical solutions. We simply must have patience as our nations work through it. There will be better days ahead for those who survive, as most of us will.
May God Bless America.
May God Save the Queen.
And don’t forget to wash your hands – thoroughly and often.