This viral infection and our response seem to me to be full of irony.  So, here goes just some observations and questions.   

1.       The greatest nation, wealthiest, with the most military might, is being brought low by a little unknown virus. This ought to teach us something about trusting in our own ability.  It is only by His grace and mercy that we live.  Maybe one of the lessons is a little humility and gratefulness?

2.       This seems to me to be one of those special times in history where everything can change.  I do not think we can ever go back to living like we did.  We thought we could “Make American Great Again” but it seems to me that was always an elusive goal, undefined, more smoke and mirrors than reality.  We cannot even live a normal live and certainly cannot live in isolation from the rest of the world.  The world is way too connected and interdependent to ever think we can go it alone.

3.       I feel like a cancer patient where you know you are facing a catastrophe, but the cure is as bad as the disease, maybe worse.  People are being laid off.  Jobs are being lost.  Those living from hand to mouth, no longer have any margin whatsoever.  I know several families who are desperate.  I have tenants who cannot pay their rent.  Our business/ministry is dead in the water at the moment. The phone has stopped ringing.  Orders are delayed or cancelled.

4.       It seems very strange to be considered a vulnerable person.  I still feel like I am about 45. 

5.       I believe our leaders are trying to address this pandemic, but I have little confidence in their heroic efforts.  Everything seems sporadic, responsive as opposed to preventive, and certainly unprepared.  Our leadership is pretty good at blaming others.  Wait until this is all over and the finger pointing will commence in earnest.

6.       I believe there is a lot of valid criticism for the present administration handling of this crisis including not listening to many early warnings of impending pandemic crises.  At the same time, I think it is fair to say that regardless of who was in office and whatever actions were taken,  there would be massive criticism.   

7.       For all those who hate socialism, suddenly it is quiet.  Everyone wants a piece of the big bail out.  Doesn’t the capitalist want to see the “weak and vulnerable” fail?  After all they did not prepare properly for such a situation as this.  A friend just posted this: “How much does it cost to turn a Trump supporter into a Socialist? The Answer…$1,200!”

8.       The great irony is that we have a massive debt our country can never repay.  Congress and the president have been trying to cut social programs but out of nowhere a trillion dollars becomes available.  No one has been able to explain this process to me as yet.  Maybe Bernie is right.  There is always money if we want something bad enough. 

9.       Another metaphor comes to mind.   Roman emperors used to stage great games and gladiator fights, and chariot races to appease the masses while they, the elite, enjoyed the good life.  With a few thousand dollars given to the people, those in the know can sell off their stocks just before the big stock market fall, purchase low and sell high, and provide billions to their corporate friends and businesses.  I hope Elizabeth Warrens eight criteria for bail out is embraced.  Not holding my breath. 

10.   I am all for a commonsense solution but do not understand why the entire state of Michigan school system is shut down when, for example, there has not been a single case of an infected person in the entire upper Peninsula.   What is the value of shutting down an entire state when all the surrounding states are still open for business?  What is the value of shutting down a whole state when “essential” services remain open (laundries, banks, grocery stores, catering services, pet stores, animal shelters, police and fire protection)?  It seems to me that we could have kept everything open and operate with a very high standard of self and peer evaluation, identifying carriers and self-quarantine them.  Now we have no idea who the carriers and infected are.   

11.   I sure would like to know what the criteria is for opening businesses, restaurants, and places of worship?  I don’t even know the criteria upon which they have been closed. 

12.   The experts talk about all the dire consequences we should expect.  A friend told me that all models are flawed.  I wish someone would tell us the assumptions upon which these models are constructed.

13.   What is the takeaway?  Well, yesterday, I stopped to visit my son and family.  I found them putting together two 1,000-piece puzzles I had given them as Christmas presents five years ago.  Both, yesterday and today, I hiked four plus miles, each day with one of my kids.  I spend more time at home with my wife.  I write and take long naps.  I pray more.  I am more grateful for another day of health.  I think a lot about death.  I look forward to reading the responses to this reflection.  

P.S. Read the attachment for some perspective. 

Stay safe…Remember your friends and family…Best…Always,  Lou

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