Op-Ed: This is not a time for politics

Op-Ed: This is not a time for politics

“People, I just want to say, you know, why can’t we all just get along?”

– Rodney King, 1992

Throughout our history, America has proven it is at its best when it is confronted with a crisis from a common enemy. Whether it is a war that threatens our freedoms, liberties and lives, a national or a global disaster that strikes us, or an unsuspected reign of terror that takes us by surprise, we’ve met it head on. What seemed like an insurmountable crisis at first was tempered by our fortitude, strength, generosity and compassion that shined greater than any celestial star in heaven’s skies.

Since, our founding Americans have lived within a political divide. The colonies took sides in anger and refused to back down over loyalty to the king. Some were happy and content to be across the pond paying homage to the crown. Others felt abused and used under the demands of parliament, living within rules proclaimed by a motherland that they had fled from. Some waited for a chance to declare independence, while others wanted status quo. But when those first shots were fired on the fields of Lexington and Concord, the colonies forgot and forgave and united for the greater cause.

Before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941, America was severely divided over what role we should play in the world at war or or even be involved at all. Although relations between the two nations were strained when America stopped exporting war goods to Japan, many U.S. citizens believed it was best for us to remain out of foreign conflicts and focus on our problems here. Congress was bitterly divided on foreign policy and public opinion was against the war. Charles Lindbergh told us, “Americans should not fight everybody in the world who prefers some other system of life to ours.”

The unprovoked Japanese bombing of Hawaii on December 7, 1941, ended all debate about our involvement in World War II. The day after the attack, angry Americans were resolute as Congress declared war on Imperial Japan with only a single dissenting vote. Within days, Germany, Italy and Japan declared war on the U.S. A once circumspect America did an about-face. The U.S. eagerly entered the global conflict with Great Britain and the Soviet Union. Both isolationism and pacifism turned into patriotism and all opposition to the war was replaced with a pure thrust for vengeance.

On September 11, 2001, Islamist cowards made history as the first nation that invaded American soil without provocation. Those that witnessed this genocide lived through the longest day of their lives in the fires of hell. As innocent Americans watched a small group of demented occultists kill 2,996 innocent victims, we discovered what motivates good and bad patriotism. On that day, we learned bad patriots kill good patriots and real patriots help other patriots. Buried within the ashes of the twin towers we learned: “to some, patriotism is just a word; to others a way of life.”

Within minutes after the attacks, a politically divided nation came together in rare bipartisan unity, nationalism and defiance. The country was awash in red, white and blue. On that evening of 9/11, some 150 members of both Congressional parties joined hands singing God Bless America on the steps of the White House. Congress unanimously passed a $40 billion anti-terrorism victim aid bill three days after the attack. Congress passed joint resolution Public Law 107–40 to authorize the use of U.S. Armed Forces to avenge the lives of every American killed that day.

“We feel renewed devotion to the principles of political, economic and religious freedom, the rule of law and respect for human life. We are more determined than ever to live our lives in freedom.”

– Rudy Giuliani

On March 30, 1981, John Hinckley, Jr. attempted to assassinate our late great president Ronald Reagan. His motorcade was swiftly diverted to nearby George Washington University Hospital for emergency treatment. Suffering from a punctured lung and barely able to speak, he whispered to the doctor, “I hope you are a Republican.” The doctor replied, “We are all Republicans today, Sir.”

Bishop Sheen told us, “Politics is the devil’s instrument that fosters hatred and discord among men to divide them into factions.” Since the coronavirus pandemic, the finger-pointing has not stopped as everyone blames someone else for this deadly epidemic. This is especially true in the U.S. But Americans are not the only people in the world who have failed to react quickly. Italians didn’t heed the warnings until the government took drastic steps to isolate them. Spaniards were arrested for defying ordered lockdowns and Australians were quarantined on an island for two weeks. While in Qom, Iran, pilgrims continued to kiss the shrines.

“Our shrines are a place of healing.”

– Al Arabiya

Wars and national disasters often lead to unlikely alliances and incredible acts of cooperation and compromises. On March 13, 2020, America came to grips with this pandemic and replaced rhetoric with reaction as President Donald Trump declared COVID a national emergency. He gave broad authority to Health Secretary Alex Azar to give doctors and hospitals more flexibility to respond to the virus. He made $50 billion in emergency funds available immediately to combat the coronavirus.

“I am officially designating this a national emergency” with these “two very big words."

– Donald Trump

In reaction to Trump's plea for Congressional cooperation, House Democrats showed restraint as Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reached an accord Friday on a coronavirus economic stimulus package to provide paid sick leave for workers and give billions to state food programs and unemployment benefits. Pelosi said, “We are proud we’ve reached an agreement with the administration to pass the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.”

“Every time our country faces a challenge, the American people rise to the occasion.”

– Kevin McCarthy

The Senate swiftly reacted and passed the House's bill in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell praised Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s work to strike the House agreement with Speaker Pelosi. President Trump signed the measure hours after Senate approval.

“Our administration and Congress acted swiftly for the good of America.”

– Donald Trump

It has been said that “old men make wars for young men to fight and die in.” For many people, the coronavirus pandemic is as bad as any war. As casualties mount, statistics reveal the very young and aging seniors are dying in greatest numbers. COVID-19 is a dispassionate equalizer since it robs us of future leaders and deprives us of the wisdom from the aging needed to bring about an orderly changing of the guard. And unlike any war, world tragedies that abundantly and randomly attack everyone make each of us allies, since defeating them is essential for the human species.

If the world learns anything from COVID-19, it must be “no man, ethnic group, government, nation, religion, civilization, nationality, or political party is an island.” During times of world crises, we must learn to seek connections for cohesion. We must be more cooperative sharing our technology. We are collective social animals and must maintain protective relationships if we wish to take on future world crises and survive. The world will profit greatly if COVID-19 reminds us of a fundamental truth: We share a mutual vulnerability and must share connections and work together for mutual survival.

This is not a time for politics.

“Man can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air, but only for one second without hope.”

– Charles Darwin

* This article was originally published here


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