Sam Burnham, Curator
Closings. Cancellations. Postponements. Panic. Fear. Chaos.
What on Earth has happened to this nation? Just a simple visit to the local grocery store will open a window to the status of our society. People are frantically buying items they think will be useful in the coming apocalypse. Bread, milk, toilet paper, cleaning supplies, hand sanitizer.
It is baffling to me that we find ourselves in this predicament. We are the people who crossed the frozen Delaware River on Christmas to kill the Hessians in pursuit of Independence. We are the people who withstood the cannon duel at First Manassas. We are the settlers driving Conestoga wagons up the Oregon Trail. We are the Lewis and Clark expedition exploring the Louisiana Purchase. And lest I be accused of favoritism toward men in adventure or battle, I’d call attention to those “Cast Iron Magnolias” - women of grit and resolve we celebrated previously.
America was founded and built by men and women of grit, courage, determination, and audacity. A virus with a 98% survival rate now has us cowering in the corner, quaking from fear of what? Death? Dismemberment? Disembowelment? No. Discomfort. We’ve canceled or postponed everything except the government, that great nanny that protects us from the cradle to the grave: that most benevolent of tyrants...the only thing our founders truly feared.
We’ve become soft. Modern life has stolen our grit, our self-reliance, our determination. We have to get it back because our very liberty depends on us being that gritty, determined people that defeated Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan.
Where is that grit of our past? The people behind the Berlin Airlift fear their grocery stores will go empty. The people who brought down the Iron Curtain quake in the shadow of an invisible menace. Our forebears scrounged through the Great Depression, doing what they had to to put a bowl of beans on the table. They kept a Sears catalogue or even corncobs in the outhouse and we’re afraid of running out of toilet paper.
This is a time for courage, for uprising. It’s gut check time. Do we still have it in us? Know the real threats, know the real threatened. We need to take every measure to protect those who are truly threatened by this disease while not destroying society in the process. Take the measures that will protect those needing such security. Look out for one another. Don’t live in fear. Operate as if the economy is more than money, because it is.
Then we need to do some real thinking about how we got to this point and how we can get past it and never come to this point again. We need to start doing more ourselves. We need to build local economies that are resilient instead of relying on slave labor overseas to provide us with cheap goods. We need to get our hands dirty. We need to drive our own fate rather than relying on government and globalism to do it for us.
Historian, self-proclaimed gentleman, agrarian-at-heart, & curator extraordinaire