100,000 Dead. And Still Rising
And it didn’t have to happen.
I thought of those classes and that battle today as I mowed the lawn. Our nation had officially passed 100,000 deaths as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. We knew this news was coming, and yet it hits hard.
I visited Gettysburg almost 3 years ago to the day. Over 50,000 Americans were killed in those massive battles that went on for days. Over the decades the war, and its causes, have become better understood with many books and lectures. But even as I have lived and watched the COVID-19 crisis (seemingly hour-by-hour) over the past three months it seems harder to grasp why it happened than that war from the 1860s.
President Donald Trump has not spoken to the nation about the 100,000 death marker. We are told by conservatives that to talk of the 100,000 deaths, as the New York Times did with a stark front page, only promotes a “partisan pandemic”. What a wretched place America finds itself in.
Like so many others I am totally frustrated by what this administration has done to our nation. They want us to accept their sordid behavior by tempering our outrage at the needless deaths of 100,000 of our fellow citizens. And then they offer no attempts at empathy to the nation which needs to have a national hug at this moment.
I often harken back to slices of history to either find a lesson for a current situation or to find some comfort or even a smile. Since Trump did not even try to comfort the nation, let me offer this in a letter from President Abraham Lincoln. My favorite of the actual leaders who have sat in the White House.
One of Lincoln’s dearest friends, William McCullough, was killed during a night charge in Mississippi. His daughter, Fanny, received a letter from Abe. Here is a portion of that letter:
In this sad world of ours, sorrow comes to all; and, to the young, it comes with bitterest agony, because it takes them unawares. The older have learned to ever expect it. I am anxious to afford some alleviation of your present distress. Perfect relief is not possible, except with time. You can not now realize that you will ever feel better. Is not this so? And yet it is a mistake. You are sure to be happy again. To know this, which is certainly true, will make you some less miserable now. I have had experience enough to know what I say; and you need only to believe it, to feel better at once.
The arm of the president around a nation is something that has long been a part of the connection the citizenry has had with its leader in the White House. When there is a complete lack of compassion, empathy, and any sense of normalcy from the holder of the nation’s highest office we then have months like those we have lived through this year. So many days without a leader.
Trump had time to golf, but had no time to address the nation about the mass loss of life of fellow Americans.
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