We live in rancorous times, to be sure.
There is constant talk about how divided our country is, as if this is unprecedented. However, there always has been division in the U.S. After all, this is a new country with people immigrating from countries all over the world. They have differing cultures, backgrounds, languages, tastes, and ideas – how could there not be divisions? At one time, those divisions were so great they resulted in the Civil War, where America lost more lives than in the totality of all of our other American wars. This includes the American Revolution, WWI, WW2, Korea, Vietnam, etc. Around 620,000 people – all Americans!
There is no one truth or one set of truths – truths coexist, and there are a lot of them.
Having said this, one of the many truths is that America is a vast land area, with 50 states and 330 million people (those counted). Many people in the U.S. live farther away from other people in the U.S. than do most people in one European country from their “neighbors” in other European countries. Same goes for people in Asian countries and also in African countries. So, we are a country also divided by distance.
In the U.S., we are a great experiment in democracy that never before had been successfully executed. It only could have been accomplished in a “virgin” territory (excluding the indigenous population). People had no historic territorial ties, such as exist on the other above-cited continents. So, as no one could claim ancestral land rights, everyone was rendered, in effect, “equal”. This could mean equally non-dominant. So, under this circumstance, America was born and moved forward.
The U.S. is the most diverse country in the world – by far.
To demonstrate this from an opposite perspective, I will use Bernie Sanders oft-cited example of Denmark. When laying out his vision for national healthcare, he uses Denmark’s health care system as a model for what he envisions can be in the U.S. But Denmark’s history goes back to before 500 AD, they have a total population of less than 6 million, with 87% being of Danish descent and with 75% identifying as “Christian.” Also, the U.S. land size is 2,300 times larger than Denmark’s. So, is it really a fair comparison? I also think there is a far, far greater identity of similarity among Danes than is the case among Americans. Therefore, it really is kind of silly to compare the two countries.
So, where am I going with all of this?
I want to tie in the above thoughts on the divide in the country to the divide in people’s behavior regarding the continuing/resurgence of Coronavirus, known as Covid 19. My view on this likely will not be popular, especially with those at whom I most point the finger. But, I charge each and every individual for his/her own behavior, regarding the four – only four – things we have been told and continue to be advised to do. I most blame those who choose not to abide by these simple rules.
I liken the situation to smoking cigarettes. In today’s world, we know how awful smoking is – there is no debate. Besides the “minor” annoyances of smoke in the faces, eyes and lungs of the “innocent” bystanders, the smokers, by and large, sicken themselves. In many cases, they either kill themselves or shorten their own lives, with many living in misery until their final day. My contention is that no one can take the position that they didn’t know that smoking is bad for them. Yet, they continue to smoke – they choose to smoke. It is their choice of actions, and not mine or yours. When I was growing up, in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the dangers of smoking were less known, but fast being revealed. However, no one can use that excuse today. In no court in the U.S. would that be upheld as a defense.
So, with all of this, I have experienced one positive outcome out of the ongoing Covid 19 crisis.
I, like so many of my generation, was years ago a guitar player in a small band (very small) in high school and college. I wrote many songs back then – some of them pretty good, I think. As others also have experienced, I wound up bypassing the guitar and songwriting for many years after. Life got in the way – jobs, children, houses, etc. But, now my adult children are on their own and I have time on my hands from the sequestration of the Covid 19 situation. I decided to take up the guitar again and have written a few new songs. Harkening back to my early days, in a time of the famous protest songs from the Dylons and Baezes of the era, I have written a couple of semi-protest songs, including one about Covid.
Attached hereto, I invite you to listen and see what you think. You will hear me referring to the sentiment expressed above.
Hope you like it…
The Covid 19 Song