An invader – COVID-19 – has silently permeated our land and effectively brought life as we know it to an utter standstill. From coast to coast, northern border to southern, big city to small, town hall to Capitol Hill, regular everyday life in America has mostly come to a halt.
In the last few days, municipal, county and state government officials have issued stay at home orders to residents and required or requested non-essential businesses to close or find alternative service capabilities. A new form of social etiquette has been introduced into our lives which mandates respecting an invisible barrier around each of us of six feet or more. Schools from kindergarten to college have sent their students home, churches have shut their proverbial open doors, businesses have closed and everyone is just stuck in place, waiting for tomorrow.
We have witnessed panic buying and hoarding of everyday goods on a national level that this country has not seen in recent memory. People are understandably concerned and afraid. The unknown and uncertainty can produce many emotions and fears and Lord knows we are in the midst of plenty of that.
However, one thing is certain – we will come out of this. What we as individuals, communities and a nation look like on the other side, and what changes in our personal, social, societal and governmental behaviors remains to be seen. This experience will place an indelible impression on each of us individually as well as our collective national psyche. Similar to the Great Depression or WWII, where people endured great personal and shared sacrifice that shaped their attitudes forever, this event will do much the same. Similar to professions such as the military, law enforcement, first responders, etc., our shared COVID-19 experience can influence and shape the future, hopefully in a positive sense. The sense of commonality and being part of a group enduring and fighting back against a common enemy is profound and many times unforgettable.
This common sense of coming together and persevering in the face of the unknown brings us all together and breaks down barriers. We are seeing examples of this every day across the country. People are singing from their balconies, preparing and delivering meals to the needy, volunteering, coming out of retirement, developing new and different methods in industries, making the hard decisions to retain their workforce despite business being shut down and generally being a good neighbor.
To me, this is what America is all about. In times such as these, America shines and is at its best. Throughout our national history, the everyday American has demonstrated the attributes that have shaped and built this country through thick and thin.
Over the past couple years, I have driven more than 100,000 miles throughout the U.S. and have had the opportunity to have spoken with fellow citizens from all walks of life. Through these countless conversations, I am convinced the underpinning of our country that forms the strong foundation needed to prevail through any adversity or storm is found in the heart and spirit of the everyday American man and woman. The concept and idea of America is held, maintained and continuously nurtured by our fellow citizens.
I believe that because of these attributes, despite a constant stream of adversities thrown our way and the never ending theme of widening divisions spewed on us by those wishing to sow the seeds of negativity, that America, as it has in the past, will prevail by the virtues, steadfastness, stubbornness and resiliency of the common everyday American.
Viper One Six – Out.
Dave Shearman is the author of “Outside the Wire in Blue.” For more information, visit www.outsidethewireinblue.com or www.david.r.shearman.com