Opinion

The Citizens Just Get On With It

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Posted: Apr 07, 2020 12:01 AM
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The Citizens Just Get On With It

Source: AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

You can tell we're getting restless -- twitching and twisting and otherwise maneuvering ourselves into the familiar postures that characterized life, say, last January. We're homesick -- sick of being at home and making allowances for spouses, children, boarders, TV personalities. And presidents.

We're ready to blame others and cast aspersions -- poor-mouth according to our wont. Back to our personal standards of perfection: we the blame-casters against the fools and rogues around us. Don't they see what we see? Rarely.

I exempt no political tribe: though I cannot forbear to note the contribution of a New York Times writer, one Jennifer Senior, to the current quest for enlightenment and assurance. Senior ascribes our current health and economic problems, numerous of them, to what she represents as President Donald Trump's, ah, mental and psychological challenges.

Well, why not? Didn't Trump personally start the Great Chicago Fire? Didn't he incite the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor? I'm sure he must have. Who else would have dared?

I leave the president to reckon with the electorate in November and with St. Peter when the bill falls due. What's going on at the level of human life?

You might be surprised, The New York Times notwithstanding. At the human level of life, nonelected members of our race are figuring things out without necessarily having been told how or why. Seeing challenges, they thoughtfully stroke their chins and ...

This is from just the Monday Wall Street Journal:

-- Unable to get supplies for coronavirus testing, private labs -- private, if you please -- are making their own chemical mixtures. A Tennessee high school -- high school, if you please -- lab "managed to set up testing operations, with two science teachers leading the charge to reduce turnaround time in their area."

-- Samaritan's Purse, the experienced and valued relief operation run by Billy Graham's son Franklin, has set up a field hospital in New York City's Central Park, despite initial pushback from the mayor, who suspects Christian organizations of pushing a Christian agenda.

-- A couple of late-night comedians are trying to make a humor-starved America laugh, with repurposed jokes about getting by and getting past this, the Time of Coronavirus.

-- Bill and Melinda Gates are gearing up to fund factories that will work to produce a virus vaccine. No guarantees, but whatcha gonna do? Let the money rust until the pandemic runs its course?

-- Masks? You want a mask? "Thousands of volunteers across the U.S. -- and more around the world -- are putting aside sewing projects or dusting off machines to stitch homemade masks for hospitals, nursing homes and others in need."

-- Oh. And my older son and daughter-in-law, according to a thoughtfully laid-out (if governmentally unlicensed) plan of operation, execute daily the task of imparting knowledge and skills to a 12-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter! That's not in the Wall Street Journal, though maybe it should be.

This country's Founding Fathers understood the need for communal effort in behalf of life's essentials -- defense from foreign enemies, for instance, and the provision of health services and other measures conducive to the "general welfare."

With the passage of time and opportunity came new, politically supervised ministrations that -- wow, what a coincidence -- enhanced the personal power of those who set it all up and funded it. These ministrations are sure to enlarge themselves in the Time of Coronavirus. Until maybe (heaven help us!) we take it as normal in times of crisis to debate our leaders' alleged mental fitness. The persistence in this time of private ingenuity and philanthropy is all the same a reminder of what has made America a thing quite different from Red China and all the little Reds running around everywhere, telling people what to do and how to do it.

Americans seem to sense what to do and, better yet, how to do it -- like fight a raging infestation while generally ignoring the self-interested political cheap shots, based as they are on the shameful notion that kicking around people you don't like may be life's greatest joy. It's not, Ms. Senior; it's really not.

William Murchison is writing a book on moral reconstruction in the 21st century. His latest book is "The Cost of Liberty: The Life of John Dickinson."