For decades now we have watched the industrial might that distinguished our nation slowly erode as both companies and consumers succumbed to the siren song of lower prices supported through cheap overseas factory labor. The mighty industrial empire constructed during and immediately following WWII began to crumble and with it the valuable sense of community and accomplishment that accompanied these achievements.
In far too many instances, craftsmanship and durability took a backseat to the perceived efficiency of “engineered obsolescence” and the desire of companies to wring the last drop of profit from their operations. The “global economy” was touted as the new alter at which to worship. The stock market seemed assured of steady growth.
And then came the sucker punch.
From the bowels of China, a major player in finance, exports and world commerce, emerged a new deadly viral disease notable for the rapidity of its transmission and the lack of both treatment and prevention, particularly cruel in its assault upon the elderly and those whose immune system had been weakened. Initially, its severity was covered up by a communist government determined to cram the monstrosity back into Pandora’s box. Unfortunately countries are no longer isolated by oceans or land distance and a constant flow of infected Chinese reached throughout the world in record time. Due to a lengthy incubation period major population centers failed to immediately realize the danger until the virus had established a stronghold which bloomed into a pandemic. A few countries such as South Korea and Taiwan successfully applied quick measures to limit the spread of infection but in most cases the threat was minimized or ignored.
Consequently most nations are left scrambling in an effort to constrain the virus and to develop treatment and prevention measures while attempting to maintain the structure necessary to provide basic services for their inhabitants. The media is as usual doing its best to create hysteria and the politicians are working overtime to cover their negligent asses.
Fortunately science and medicine have made great progress since previous pandemics that ravaged the globe and if people are willing to follow suggested guidelines to combat the threat we should be able to survive this current attack. Common sense and a modicum of self discipline (both of which appear to be in diminished supply in our current society) can withstand much of the adversity that Mother Nature regularly provides. Working together is vital for success, particularly when faced with crisis.
America has survived many battles. Once this threat has been contained our challenge will be to repair our economy and revive the strengths that made our nation a world leader. Containment will require judicious evaluation and implementation of what has been successful in other countries (mandatory wearing of masks, for instance) plus a strong commitment to the common welfare by a wide spread public acceptance of basic safety procedures designed to hamper the spread of the virus. And most important, our political establishment at all levels must abandon the destructive partisanship that has hamstrung our efforts to defeat this threat to our people and our nation.
Time is short. It is way past time to restructure our economic base, to rebuild our manufacturing capabilities around our own labor force, to repair the weaknesses evolving from our dependence on offshore products vital to our health and safety that currently can be utilized as weapons against us.
Personally, I am willing to pay a little more for quality products manufactured here in our country so that our own citizens will benefit from stable jobs and increased opportunity.