“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” President Harry S. Truman
As I am writing this column, the number of global coronavirus cases surpassed 300,000 with more than 13,000 deaths worldwide, according to John Hopkins University, which reported that China, Italy and the U.S. had the most people diagnosed with the respiratory illness.
The news came as the number of Americans under virtual lockdown grew to over 80 million on Saturday, March 21, 2020 when New Jersey joined the list of states issuing a stay-at-home order or other sweeping mandates to fight the spread of the disease.
In some places, there is widespread panic. This is a health emergency greater than I have ever seen.
But, we are Americans.
We have been challenged many times. Each time, God gave us what we needed to prevail. The below ten examples provide a broad picture of why America is exceptional:
1. Winning our independence from the powerful, worldwide British Empire by taking up arms with determination;
2. Preventing a British victory that could have destroyed a young America during the War of 1812;
3. Surviving one of the bloodiest civil wars in history and its aftermath;
4. Joining European countries to defeat Germany and its allies in World War I;
5. 25 years later, along with our allies, defeating Germany again along with the Empire of Japan in World War II;
6. Surviving the 1934 “Dust Bowl” which was the worst drought and climate catastrophe in a thousand years of North American history;
7. Working, struggling, and surviving the Great Depression;
8. Dismantling the most evil empire in human history; the Soviet Union and its system of communism;
9. Rebuilding New York after 9/11 and taking the fight to our enemies; and
10. Still surviving perhaps the greatest political divide between our people since 1861.
Americans are exceptional because of God, courage, and the work ethic to get the job done.
I am not suggesting that this virus is not to be concerned about. This is a very serious emergency that is affecting and killing people worldwide. I am suggesting that America will continue leading the world on the front line in this battle and win.
We have the best scientists working with the president and other leaders to contain, and eventually defeat this virus. This may take time. But, most Americans are calmly following our leaders’ decisions and orders.
Of course, there are always people who choose to worsen a crisis by fanning the flames of fear, politicizing the situation, blaming other people, asking ridiculous questions at press conferences, spreading internet rumors that circulate within seconds, and/or just failing to dispel their ignorance.
While these people have been somewhat successful thus far, they will not prevail because uncontrolled fear has never been welcome in America. It is not welcome today.
Americans are once again being looked to for leadership. That challenge has been met.
Please pray for America, the world, and our leaders. We will prevail.
Jason Swindle is a criminal defense attorney and serves the Coweta Judicial Circuit on the Board of Governors for the State Bar of Georgia.