I am grieving. The division and rhetoric I see on social media is more disturbing to my soul than the virus or impact of shelter-at-home. In my grief I have written the speech I want to receive from the president today. One which brings us together, gives us hope, and calls us to action.
Ladies and gentlemen, The President of the United States:
On this Memorial Day, we have much to be grateful for. The sacrifice of so many people is what has made us great, and given us the liberties we enjoy today. Over the course of our history as a nation, hundreds of thousands of men and women have made the ultimate sacrifice. Hundreds of thousands of families will never be the same. This is a debt we cannot repay. Their sacrifice has paved the way for us to become what we are today; the greatest nation on earth.
Today we find ourselves in a position none of us have experienced in our lifetime. A new virus is racing not just through our country, but through the entire world. A virus none of us has immunity to. This virus is deadly and prolific. We are approaching 100,000 deaths in the United States, and our experts tell us the actual count is likely higher.
To combat this malevolent virus, we have pulled together, restricted our movements, and largely altered our daily lives for the past two months. The actions we have collectively taken have been courageous and sacrificial; and they have likely saved tens of thousands of lives–perhaps even more lives than have already been lost. You are to be commended for your actions.
Great Actions, Great Cost
While our actions to protect our fellow Americans have saved many lives, great cost has come with it. Our economy is founded on the notion of exchanging services for income, and income for basic necessities. As we have sheltered at home, and as the virus has made it unsafe to gather in public, many of us have lost our jobs. Our economy isn’t made to function well when we are all in our homes.
Both the virus, and the strategy to mitigate the virus, are causing us great pain. However, it is against the backdrop of this painful paradox that we find our greatest threat as a nation. Our greatest threat is neither the virus nor the economy. The greatest threat we have ever faced, is we have made our neighbor the enemy. Abraham Lincoln was quoting Jesus when he stated “a house divided against itself cannot stand.”
We are better when we are together.
Throughout the history of our nation, what has made us unique in the world is our diversity. Our diversity of cultures, experiences, backgrounds, and opinions has given us a rock-solid foundation to build our country upon. Building and maintaining such a foundation is not an easy feat! It requires love and an open mind, all while holding onto our own values, which we should never compromise on. Sometimes it feels like we’re walking a tightrope. But we’ve done it for nearly 300 years, and it’s more important than ever for us to continue to do it.
There’s more at stake here than just our physical health, and the health of our economy. The strength of our unity and diversity has made us the leader of the world. The entire planet has looked to us for our leadership in past crises, and they’re looking to us again. Our record of compassion, strength, and ingenuity is what the world is counting on as they hope for us to lead through this crisis. Will we rise to the occasion?
Facts, Figures, and Faith
We will fight our way through this with facts, figures, and faith.
There are many inaccurate statements circulating on social media. Some are inaccurate opinions which don’t stand up to the facts. Some are outright conspiracy theories. The Bible says, “Do not call conspiracy everything this people calls a conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, and do not dread it.” Facts are our friends. Let’s embrace reality as we move forward.
Our facts are based on figures, which come from some of the best scientists the world has to offer. These experts have devoted their entire lives to acquire the knowledge and skills needed to guide us through this virus.Their agenda is to keep us safe. They are not motivated by politics, but by science.
Many of the greatest scientific discoveries in the history of the world came from men and women who were driven by their faith. We’re all familiar with one of the principles our country was founded on: In God We Trust. Lean into your faith to bring you comfort and peace in this time of turmoil. As you pray, ask God to deliver us from this virus.
As we move to reopen our country, and recover from the effects of this virus, these are the things my administration will be focusing on. We will be increasing our testing. We’ve made great strides, as we are approaching 2 million tests per week in the United States. We need to increase that to 3 to 3.5 million tests each week. We continue to ramp up, and we will get there shortly.
We need to get the total number of people infected with the virus down before we ease restrictions on movement. This will enable us to implement contact tracing, which is one of the most critical components in reducing the spread of the virus. We are ramping up the staffing and protocols needed to implement contact tracing effectively. We are working with some of the best technology companies, to find technical solutions which will assist us in our contact tracing.
We are securing our supply of personal protection equipment, so our health care providers can do their jobs safely and without fear. This strategy includes reducing, and eventually eliminating, our dependence on supplies and manufacturing from other nations.
Similarly, we are moving to fortify our food supply. The work to grow, raise, process, package, and deliver our food is essential. We are working with every food industry, to help reinvent how workers operate, so they can be safe while still being productive.
We will continue our strong funding and support for the WHO, CDC, and other organizations who are working together, sharing the knowledge and data needed to beat this virus.
Our commerce must be reinvented as well. I have just created a Commerce Ingenuity Task Force. The goal of this task force is to stimulate the economy by finding ways to get commerce moving again, and to do so in a way resistant to future restrictions in movement. This task force will have federal money at its disposal, to reinvigorate the economy, and support innovations in commerce. The task force is comprised of economic experts, Fortune 500 business leaders, and small and medium business owners.
You have a critical role to play in our recovery. All of us need to protect each other’s health, reinvent how we work, and build unity with each other.
When it’s possible, find ways to stay home. Use food delivery services. Work from home. Avoid crowded areas. These options are not available to every person in every situation, but if they are options for you, take advantage of them. If you are in a situation where you have to be around other people, wear a mask–any mask. Wearing a mask has been proven to be highly effective in reducing the spread of infection to other people. This is not an issue of personal rights–this is an issue of common courtesy. Let’s protect each other.
Reinvent how you work by thinking of ways you could work differently. If you are a business owner, think of new target customers, new delivery mechanisms, and new revenue streams. If you are an employee, think of ways you can be effective in your work, while maintaining more physical distance from your co-workers and customers. Consider different careers, if your current one is struggling. Our ingenuity has made us what we are today. Let’s use that ingenuity to lead us to even greater economic prosperity.
Finally, and most critically, extend an olive branch to your neighbor. What we have in common is so much greater than our differences, they aren’t even worth mentioning. Each of us have unique situations which cause us to have a greater desire for either focusing on the economy or on our physical health. There is freedom in letting go of our need to be right, and instead choosing to listen to our neighbors. As we do, we will find the reasons for their opinions are not stupid, but make sense given their circumstances and experiences; and they will find the same for ours.
Will You Step Up?
Will we step up? Will you be a part of the solution? History tells us there will be a second wave to this virus, with the potential to be much more deadly than the first. We will be prepared to respond quickly. We’ve rallied together and answered the bell time after time in our nation’s history. When we pull together, we are the greatest nation on earth. Our health, our economy, our neighbors, and the whole world are counting on us.
On this Memorial Day, let us honor the memory and sacrifice of those who have given their lives to defend our country, the United States of America. We are better together. Let us be unified.