LOS ANGELES: On April 1, we are deep into President Trump and America’s war for defeating Coronavirus. Only three months ago, seven billion people watched what seemed like a miracle. New Year’s Eve ended in Australia as the clock struck midnight. New Year’s on the TV in Australia is special because they go first. Then other Asian countries ring in the new year. Then Europe and the Middle East do it. Eventually, New York has its turn.
As anyone born in Brooklyn knows, Brooklyn’s time is what matters. Midnight in Los Angeles is almost anti-climactic. 9:00 pm in Los Angeles is a big deal because it’s midnight in Brooklyn. Then Alaska and Hawaii have their say.
The most recent iteration of this ritual was special because it was more than a new year. It was an entirely new decade. While that is less fascinating than an entirely new millennium, it is still pretty cool.
History teaches us about the roaring 1920s and had many of us wondering what the 2020s would be like. On that one night three months ago, the entire world for a moment was at peace. The world was happy. Even some of the most troublesome (to put it mildly) nations took an ever-so-brief break to celebrate being alive for a new decade.
On New Years Eve 2020 the world was filled with hope and optimism.
Only three months later, much of that optimism has crashed and burned. Even worse, it happened so quickly. In February, America was prospering. In March, it all came crashing down as the COVID-19 Coronavirus became a global pandemic.
While only one out of every 200,000 people has died from this virus, the economic and psychological effects have been catastrophic.
Right now the world is in a world of hurt. Most of us are searching for answers.
There is plenty of time to lay blame where it belongs, but that is for another day. Right now the people who are in pain need to heal.
Trust that the president has the best people around him for defeating coronavirus.
President Trump does and will listen to these experts. Trust that his lifetime of experience in the business world will help him make sound decisions.
Most people have no idea how to manage international relations. President Donald Trump will handle that. Most of us have no idea how to handle a pandemic.
Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx will handle that. Click their names, read their biographies. They are wholly equipped to lead us medically. Most people have no idea how to produce a ventilator. American businesses will handle that.
Do not expect the crisis to immediately be solved. What we must expect and demand is realism combined with hope.
Dr. Fauci will provide cold-blooded realism because that is what he has to do. He has to give us a cold dose of reality, no matter how much it hurts.
President Trump needs to provide warm-blooded optimism. This is no pie-in-the-sky fantasy. It is vitally important for any president to show empathy in the worst of times.
Presidents past giving American optimism
Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s fireside chats gave people hope that they truly could get a New Deal. We can argue whether FDR’s policies worked, but there is no disputing that he gave people a ray of hope when it was desperately needed.
John Fitzgerald Kennedy infused America with an optimistic spirit. He said in 1960 that we would get to the Moon by 1970, and we did it.
Ronald Reagan took over a nation that for the first time was questioning whether its best days were behind it. Reagan removed all doubts as he spoke of a “Shining City on a Hill” and reminded us that we could succeed again because “We are Americans.”
Bill Clinton comforted Americans after the Oklahoma City bombing. As a woman said to him, “I’m a Republican, but I’m glad you’re here.”
George W. Bush rallied us after the worst terrorist attack on American soil since Pearl Harbor. Amidst the rubble, he had firefighters cheering when he said, “I can hear you, the rest of the world hears you, and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!”
Barack Obama entered office facing a devastating financial crisis. His main selling point was his calmness, “No drama Obama.”
Americans will remain sharply divided about whether the policies worked for any and all of these leaders, but they were there and they were expected to keep the American dream alive.
To say that President Trump is controversial is an understatement.
However, the divisions in this country existed long before he was ever a political figure.
This is not about President Trump. He is a snapshot in time.
What matters is whether this world continues to exist. That we are successful in defeating Coronavirus. For this world to survive, America has to remain a beacon of light to the rest of the world. We can only do that if we are an economic superpower, a military superpower, and a moral superpower built on freedom and liberty.
Americans fought back and overcame the Great Depression, Pearl Harbor, 9/11, and the 2008 financial crisis. We survived as early settlers, Small Pox. Typhoid fevers in 1906. The Spanish Flu of 1918. Polio in the 1950s. HIV/AIDS in the 1980s.
We can beat this 2020 Coronavirus. We can do this. This requires faith. We have to have faith.
Without faith and hope, what is there? It should scare the daylights out of us all to contemplate the alternative.
Whoever you voted for, pray for President Trump to succeed against this terrible medical plague. Pray for his team. Pray that a combination of expertise, wisdom, timing, and yes, luck, get it done.
The task force led by Vice President Mike Pence has to succeed.
Failure is just not an acceptable option. Root for them to succeed. Hope for them to succeed. Pray for them to succeed.
After that, we can return to sports, culture, and yes, politics. Then after another contentious election, let us spend December 31, 2020, watching Australia ring in 2021.
By the Grace of God, it will be a year of prosperity, hopefulness, and yes, peace. That we will have learned, as a world, that there are bigger enemies than ourselves.
And the world is big enough for all of us.
Lead Image: President Donald J. Trump sees off the USNS Comfort Saturday, March 28, 2020, as she departs Naval Air Station Norfolk Pier 8 in Norfolk, Virginia and sets sail for New York City to assist in the battle of defeating coronavirus. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)