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Last week we quietly celebrated the 4th of July, or Independence Day. We looked fondly  back at a time when a group of patriots rose up and saved us from the tyranny of King George III. Americans united into a ragtag army that fought under the leadership of George Washington. The irony of this situation was that only by giving up their independence and committing to an allegiance of like minded citizens could they succeed. Shoulder to shoulder they risked their lives for the idea of democracy. They depended on interdependence to achieve independence. We are currently at war to free ourselves from the grips of the coronavirus and systemic racism. To win will require wartime sacrifices. To win we will have to act in unity. We will need a leader to whom  we can give our complete trust, someone  who understands that independence is a goal not a strategy.

It will be hard to tackle the myriad problems that face our country until we eliminate the threat of  covid-19. The sooner the better. There is a way, but it will require Americans to give up some personal freedoms for the common good, and it will require a leader who has the guts to ask us to.


Maybe it is time for us to try to defeat the virus with the only weapon we have, even if we have to give up our independence for the period that we are at war. George Washington didn’t ask fellow citizens to mitigate the effects of King George’s taxes. He took them to war.

Countries around the world took different paths to snuff out the threat.  Some countries succeeded in keeping the virus at bay with few deaths and without screwing up their economy. Data now shows us that they took the only course of action that could prevent the virus to get the upper hand,  to deprive the virus of its ability to replicate. This required drastic and often restrictive actions. Victory demanded that  all in the virus’ path must  unite for a few weeks.  When scientists around the world recognized the threat before the virus landed on their shores, some leaders acted decisively. They gained the trust of their people by giving the podium to these trusted scientists.  They tested, contact traced and quarantined all who were close to a confirmed case. They even paid everyone who was not really essential to stay home.  They stopped offering themselves as hosts for the virus, all together at the sametime. They then were able to go back to work . but have continued to stay vigilant and have remained accepting of the invasive programs that their government still imposes on them. Interdependence won the war.

We have to stand up to voices that try to seperate us, giving the virus its only hope to survive. We are at a time that a firm national plan is being sneered at by the occupant of the White House. We are in a crisis of our own making. We cannot wish the virus away. We cannot hope for a miracle cure soon. We cannot just put voluntary guidelines in place. We can’t say we just need more testing. We cannot say wouldn’t it be nice if all Americans wore masks and social distanced. We can not accept half measures. We have to put teeth in our actions and quit just gumming it. As uncomfortable as some will find being commanded to do what  it is necessary for an outright win, we must have a trusted commander in the time of war demand some things from us. Suck it up, America, for a few weeks. TEST, CONTACT TRACE ( not just a phone call), MANDATORY QUARANTINE, and REQUIRE PROOF THAT PEOPLE ARE VIRUS FREE. It will require a massive well trained national workforce working with local health officials. We will need financial assistance to those affected. We will need to  require better data collection. We will need rapid tests results. All of this is available. Let competency reign, leaving us to get on with our lives. We could all soon be back at work after sending our kids off to school.


Others have made this work. Maybe we can too. Hopefully in the future we will add a holiday to celebrate the 14 days of interdependence that saved us from a long pandemic that had decimated our country.

John Osler

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