Tag Archives: sacrifice

America’s weak link in our battle against the Coronavirus

In the movie 300, King Leonidas explained the success of the Spartan army:
We fight as a single, impenetrable unit. That is the source of our strength. Each Spartan protects the man to his left from thigh to neck with his shield. A single weak spot, and the phalanx shatters.
That is a lesson seemingly lost on many Americans today as we face adversity, unlike anything we have seen, the Coronavirus. Somehow, we have managed to politicize a medical pandemic turning it into a political statement. Many governors’ decision to require the use of masks, a scientifically proven way of decreasing your chances even if you are asymptotic of infecting someone else, has become a symbol by many on the right as a sign of government overreach. Shelter in place orders has served as the impetus for groups of heavily armed individuals threatening lawmakers in actions that can only be described as terrorism. Doctors and nurses on the front lines saving lives stand in defiance to individuals protesting and refusing to wear masks or socially distance are called traitors. The majority of those protesting appear not to be doing so because they are in need of getting back to work. Still, because they have never known real oppression, they have confused shelter in place orders, designed to slow the spread of the virus and protect American lives, with oppression. The reality is that it is merely a matter of inconvenience to their daily routine, such as going to the bar or getting their morning latte from Starbucks. They believe the sacrifice they are being asked to endure temporarily, for not only their good but the good of their fellow Americans, is a mission simply too difficult. This is the exact opposite of the United States Army 1st Infantry division, the oldest continuously serving the regular Army, whose motto is:
No Mission Too Difficult. No Sacrifice Too Great. Duty First!
These individuals have no sense of sacrifice or duty; they are America’s weak spot, and it is because of them that our fight against this virus could shatter.
As troubling as that is more, the most problematic aspect is America’s lack of leadership in both government and business. Government officials and CEOs of big business shout America must reopen. They do this without any concern about the safety of the people they tell to return to life as normal. No, they do it hoping that it will bolster their re-election chances or increase their business’s profit, and they do it without taking any risk themselves. I believe conservative economist Thomas Sowell, whose views I rarely agree with, said it best when he said:
It is hard to imagine a more stupid or more dangerous way of making decisions than by putting those decisions in the hands of people who pay no price for being wrong.
America believes to be the moral compass of the world, yet it has allowed itself to act in a selfish manner where its fellow Americans’ lives matter less than their selfish agendas. Where’s the morality in that?

I May Not Get There With You

I may not get there with you.

Just seven of the four thousand one hundred and seventy-one words in Martin Luther King’s Jr. I’ve Been to the Mountaintop speech. That speech would be the last one he ever delivered as he was assassinated the very next day at the young age of 39. There are so many speeches and quotes uttered by Dr. King that have personally motivated and inspired me to be a better person. But those seven words, above all others, have always had a special meaning to me.

Dr.King delivered those words in a speech to support a strike by 1,300 sanitation workers, mostly African-American men, who were protesting the horrendous working conditions, poverty-level wages, and the city’s refusal to recognize their union, sadly issues that are still prevalent today. With those seven words, Dr. King told the world he was aware his own life might very well be cut short because of his crusade to force America to abide by the words on which it was founded. That all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. But he was not afraid to die. Not because he embraced death, not because he wanted to die. Because, as he said in his own words, our lives begin to end when we stay silent about things that matter. So on that night, he refused to keep silent; he told everyone in Memphis, Tennessee that night that now was not the time to turn back out of fear. Now was the time to press on down the path of righteousness even if that path was fraught with inherent dangers. That they could not sit quietly in fear and accept the injustices they were being subjected to, it would be unconscionable to do so. Today we celebrate his birthday, and I ponder what humanity could accomplish, what heights we could reach, where we may already be if each of us had even a fraction of the resolve and courage that Dr.King had to do what was right despite what it may cost us personally. I may not get there with you – just seven words but seven words that still resonate loudly today.