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Thought for the Day: COVID-19

Michael Lockwood

Posted on March 25, 2020 09:54

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A commentary on COVID-19 and the possible things we can learn from it.

What do the COVID-19 outbreak, 9/11, and Hurricane Katrina have in common?

Other than the obvious disastrous nature of all of them, they represent lessons that we should be learning. Lessons that, unfortunately, we seem unable to learn and retain.

Lesson 1: People are impressive. Whether it's impressive for the good or impressive for the bad, people can either show amazing compassion or inexplicable stupidity. True, your typical human is a herd animal, your individual can be a loner among the sheep.

Lesson 2: In Vino Veritas. Roughly translated, it means "In Wine, Truth." I take it to mean that the true nature of something is revealed when it is taken outside of its comfort zone. We get to see things, and people, as who they are. Whether it's the person you thought was a loser stepping up to greatness or a politician trying to use this crisis for personal gain, we can see through the mask.

Lesson 3: Smaller really is better. It is the individual that has made the difference here. Individuals who choose to have impromptu parades through neighborhoods, or who decorate houses with Christmas lights, or even singing from one balcony to another. It's not the large company or group providing meals to kids who aren't going to school or making face masks and hand sanitizer for our medical people. Sure, large companies do that, too, but let's not forget that it started with the small companies and individuals.

Lesson 4: Do we really need to depend on the government as much as we do? While the U.S. government dithered, Americans took care of our own. While Washington fought over earmarks and issues not related to the outbreak, we, for example, celebrated and supported our businesses with things like National Takeout Day to take the sting out of restaurant closings. Unfortunately, too many businesses have elected to lay off workers, but that would have happened regardless of what Congress decided to do, protections or no.

Lesson 5: We really suck at being prepared for disasters. Regardless of how this turns out, the $2 trillion in the stimulus deal is going to really hurt the country as a whole. We are already spending money far, far faster than we can bring it in. After this blows over, and it will blow over, we're going to be stuck in the hole of trying to pay for it. It's difficult to be prepared for every contingency, but one thing is for sure: the U.S. must be in a financial position where we can take these types of emergency fundings in stride with a reserve that softens the blow.

Is American unique in this? No. There are plenty of examples from around the world; I happen to be an American. 

We will get through this. We will be stronger for it. Now we just need to retain the lessons that crises like this try to teach.

God Bless.

Michael Lockwood

Posted on March 25, 2020 09:54

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Source: WashPost

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