American Spirit! We were so proud of it, and rightfully so. Traditionally, when we said “American Spirit,” we meant to say that our people, despite our chaotic history, survived, thrived and found new grounds for co-operation within the society. I have deliberately used the past tense because this American Spirit seems to be lost. After this loss, division is penetrating our politics and society like leaches in the veins of a patient in 17th century. The present scenario is incapable of reviving the American Spirit in this time of grave danger that challenges our people. Vested interests and lack of leadership are destroying whatever is left of this spirit, making it harder for people to align themselves with the true goals of the nation. The simple act of wearing a mask has been turned into a polarization in which we are losing our respect for life. It is not only because of the CO-VID pandemic, it’s also a pandemic of ignorance and division.
The fight against CO-VID has been described as a war. The wars we have fought are many. Wars that were justified and some that were not well-justified. Wars in which we sacrificed a lot of our men and women. But if CO-VID is our new enemy, why we are so hesitant to tolerate a little discomfort and wear a mask to defeat it? Are we so numb that we are ready to send our young men and women to die in wars across the world but too selfish to do anything when the enemy is on our streets? Why can’t we make this connection? The gap in federal leadership and lack of direction of our nation is the real culprit.
Throughout our history, there have been times when people came forward and met the needs of challenging time willingly and diligently. During WWII, people followed the directions to ration gasoline, butter, canned milk and sugar. Our grandparents and parents accepted the appeal of the government to dress warmly in order to spare fuel for military services. President Roosevelt also asked them to contribute old tires, rubber and shoes to build equipment needed to fight the war, because the rubber plantations in Asia were under enemy control. Young women were encouraged to become war-time nurses and factory workers. During the depression, FDR started many projects to improve infrastructure with the goal of providing jobs to the millions of unemployed citizens and enable them to put food on the table and a roof over the heads of their families. This is a stark contrast to the current situation, in which corporations, air lines, and big businesses with influence got the largest chunk of CO-VID relief funds.
Are we ready to come together again and face the predicament in front of us? We all know that the answer is in the negative. Is it because we have lost touch with reality? Is the new generation not capable of tackling the new challenges? Or are we just too self-centered and more interested in taking sides than finding a common solution? Is the twenty-four-hour news-cycle to blame? I think all these questions lead to a more significant one: Who are we? It’s time to redefine ourselves with clarity and responsibility, because without this, our future may remain murky.