over, will we be the same America?|
By Patrick J.
"Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is
to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates
his mind wonderfully," - Samuel
And as it is
with men, so it is with nations.
April 02, 2020
- Monday, Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus
response coordinator, projected some 100,000 to 200,000
U.S. deaths from the pandemic, "if we do things almost
perfectly." She agreed with Dr. Anthony Fauci's estimate
that, if we do "nothing," the American dead could reach
That 2 million
figure would be twice as many dead as have perished in
all our wars from the American Revolution to the Civil
War, World War I and II, and Korea and Vietnam.
indeed concentrate the mind wonderfully.
Now add to this
slaughter of our countrymen a market plunge steeper than
the 1929 Crash and a 1930s-style Depression. Wall Street
analysts are talking of a wipeout of 30% of our GDP and
unemployment reaching 35%.
difference a month can make.
March 3, Super Tuesday, we were caught up in the
14 primary contests after Joe Biden's stunning
victory in South Carolina, which broke the
momentum of Sen. Bernie Sanders' wins in Iowa,
New Hampshire and Nevada.
What March 2020
produced and what it appears to portend is a sea change
in U.S. history, an inflection point, an event after
which things never return to what they were.
fully bounce back after the pandemic?
crisis seems to be one of those epochal events that
alter the character of the country and the course of the
has happened in three weeks.
Party, the party of small government and balanced
budgets, approved with but a single dissent a $2
trillion emergency bill. There is talk now of a second
$2 trillion bill, this one for infrastructure.
In a single
month, then, a Republican Senate and president grew the
federal budget by 50% and are looking to double that.
Democrats raised alarms about Trump's poaching of the
powers of the other branches. Now Democrats are
demanding to know why Trump has not shut down the
economy by presidential decree and not used his latent
dictatorial powers to order U.S. companies to produce
what the nation's hospitals demand.
long accused Trump of xenophobia and racism for seeking
to close the borders to migrants entering the country
illegally are now silent as Trump closes America to the
free press champions are calling for Trump's White House
briefings not to be carried on TV because the president
is spouting propaganda and lies. The problem: The people
are watching and approving of what the media think the
people ought not see.
If people in a
crisis will jettison lifelong beliefs like this readily,
how enduring will their professed belief in democracy
thinks this will be a V-shaped recession, that once the
economy hits bottom and turns up, it will soar, as in
1946 when pent-up demand from World War II was unleashed
and America began to churn out cars and consumer good as
rapidly as it had weapons of war.
put me down as a skeptic. You can't go home again. The
shattering events of March, followed by what is coming
in April and May, will have lasting impacts on the
hearts and minds of this generation.
once-insatiable appetite for Chinese-made goods at the
mall – will it really return? Will Americans, after
having "socially distanced" for months from family and
friends, be reassured of their safety and pack into
restaurants in July?
carrier Theodore Roosevelt in Guam offloading scores of
sailors infected with coronavirus, will Americans be up
for a clash with a China that is even today asserting
its claims to the South China Sea?
who survive this crisis care whether Iranian-backed
Shiites dominate Iraq or Saudi-backed Sunni prevail in
shocked this nation as severely as 9/11, what is coming
may be even more sobering.
Are millions of
unemployed workers without the cash to pay for or to
find medicine and groceries likely to stay indoors for
weeks or months?
criminals being given early release from virus-infested
jails and prisons without the means to provide for
themselves and their families, how will they react to
weeks of mandatory sheltering in place?
Will MS-13 and
its thousands of members, and its rival gangs that live
off narcotics sales, comply?
done well in staying home in March. Will they do so
through April, May and perhaps June? Or will the system
gradually break down just as the second wave of the
virus in the fall appears?
In times of
crisis in America, there is a tradition of
But there have
also almost always been not a few whose mindset is that
of the Fort Lauderdale spring-breakers.
Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three Presidents,
twice a candidate for the Republican presidential
nomination, and the nominee of the Reform Party in 2000.
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