Gutknecht : All Paranoids Now?

Fortunately, the man in the center of this arena is named Donald J. Trump. He is no Chicken Little. We can all draw strength from our President and thank God that we have a leader like him in times like these.

Source: AP Photo/ Evan Vucci

The hourly reports of suspected cases. The images of healthcare workers garbed like aliens from outer space. Stories of frantic mothers dousing their children’s chubby fingers with Smirnoff since Costco ran out of hand sanitizer. Experts describing the situation in grave tones. Helpless people trapped on luxury cruise ships. 

Is it any wonder we’re all becoming paranoid?

“There’s always something,” Gilda Radner’s SNL character Roseanne Roseannadanna famously said.  

Everything is going along swimmingly and then something unexpected comes along and seems to change everything. The latest something is called the Covid-19 Corona Virus. It may be the most publicized communicable disease since the Spanish Flu. We are learning more about it every day. In the process, we are learning more about ourselves. 

Politicizing how this all got started and who is to blame misses the point. It is. It’s a fact. Now deal with it. 

Frantically running back and forth like those terrified lemmings on Wall Street will do absolutely no good. Panic makes rational thought impossible. 

Blaming the Trump administration is akin to the A##hole in the Escalade who lays on the horn in a traffic jam. As if obnoxious noise will get cars moving any faster. It only makes everyone else even more agitated. Pointing fingers right now won’t score any political points either.  Americans have no appetite for Chicken Littles, especially among those who aspire to be our leaders. We admire strength in our leaders. Indeed, we demand it. Lincoln and Roosevelt are chiseled into Rushmore for a reason. Their critics are not. Teddy told us that it’s not the critic that counts. It is the one who is actually in the arena. 

Fortunately, the man in the center of this arena is named Donald J. Trump. He is no Chicken Little. We can all draw strength from our President and thank God that we have a leader like him in times like these. Courage, like the virus itself is contagious.

Winston Churchill reminded us that we did not “journey all this way, across the centuries, across the oceans, across the mountains, across the prairies, because we are made of sugar candy.” We come from strong stock, we are Americans. 

Our ancestors did not get to the Mississippi River only to stop and say, “Wow! That’s a mighty wide river. I guess we’re going to have to turn around and go back home.” No, they figured out a way to cross that river. It’s what Americans have always done.

This is a time for us to come together. We are all in the same boat. And here’s a scientific fact about a boat; you can’t sink half of one of them. This is no time for handwringing. We know what must be done. We must endure and eventually defeat this thing. We will buck up our neighbors and not give in to fear. 

Whenever there is trouble in the world, where does the world turn? You know the answer. Just as we draw strength from our President, so the world takes its cue from us. 

Are more people going to become infected? Yes. Will it become a pandemic? Maybe. Are some, perhaps thousands of our countrymen going to succumb to this malady? Yes. Will the rest of us survive? Absolutely. Does anyone seriously doubt that we will create a vaccine, in record time? And then share it freely around the globe with friend and foe alike? Within days our scientists had sequenced the genome and produced a computer-generated 3D model of this new virus. 

It’s all part of what makes us proud to be Americans. 

The future is uncertain. The only thing we can be sure of is that there will be unexpected challenges and that one crisis will follow the next. There will always be something. It’s part of life on this blue marble hurtling through space. Great nations are not nations that shrink from challenges. They are nations that figure out how to overcome them. As long as we meet this thing head on, we will come out on the other side even stronger.  

Mother had another expression that she frequently shared, “This too shall pass.” 

And so it will. 

Gil Gutknecht

Gil Gutknecht is a former Republican congressman from Minnesota.