In the late 1920s, the world witnessed an economic fallout of great proportions. Within the United States, thousands of families fell into unemployment. Parents could not provide for their children, stores filed for bankruptcy, debt piled and the stock market inevitably crashed.
Confidence in the market ceased as stocks were bought and sold at irrational and exorbitant rates. In the midst of the chaos, President Franklin Delanor Roosevelt placed his hand on the Bible and recited the President’s oath. Seeing the escalating disarray and panic within the American people, he prepared to ease their conscience.
“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance,” He opened his inauguration address with the famous quote, according to the White House Historical Association.
While the nation did not see an economic recovery until after the end of World War II, Roosevelt’s address to the nation demonstrated professionalism and the required leadership at the time. He exemplified grace in present danger and sought to benefit the common man. Today, the world is faced with a similar threat to its security and freedom.
COVID-19 is a global pandemic that has infected and killed thousands, according to BBC. It has spread precariously to other nations. Since any lead scientists have not manufactured a vaccine or specific treatment, people have begun to worry.
Stores have been cleaned out, and high demand for toilet paper has controlled the masses. Like the Great Depression, the stock market is suffering due to a lack of confidence.
Recently, my school was shut down due to this pandemic. My classmates and friends rejoiced since they dodged their tests and projects. Since school ended, the district office wants to resume education through distance learning which consists of live-streaming lessons, attachments in google classroom and communication through Gmail.
My world, and millions of American’s lives, have changed so much in so little time. We are forced to overcompensate for our losses.
Students rely on online study sessions and textbooks since they cannot learn from their teacher in person. Cabin fever and boredom cloud our minds as we find minuscule tasks to accomplish. When we open our laptops and phones to read the news, we are bombarded with headlines relating to the virus.
We see the escalating number of cases and deaths plastered on the featured headline leading to paranoia, anxiety, panic but most importantly, fear.
Fear motivates and succumbs our minds to mass hysteria and uncertainty. Morale is stomped on as we enforce whatever means necessary to mitigate the virus’s effects. The prospects of freedom and security are forgotten in a sea of disarray.
We let emotions dictate our judgment and irrationality be the base of our actions. We become impulsive, senseless in the pursuit of survival. We crave social connection but are told to avoid it at all cost.
We desire accomplishment and gratification but are told to wait until the virus’s passing.
Throughout the history of America, men, weapons and alternating events have tested the strength of our Republic.
Some examples are the burning of the White House in the War of 1812, the division of North and South in the Civil War, the introduction of Jim Crow laws, the rise of tyranny in Europe leading to the rise of communism, a controversial war in Vietnam, the defining split in the Korean peninsula and the fear of the Great Recession.
Time and time again, the leaders of the past met the task and then some.
Through the liberation of people subjected under the Nazi rule, America became a beacon to the rest of the world. When President Kennedy saw to it that a man landed on the moon, he proved that technology and innovation transcended party politics. Through the Regan Presidency, the Berlin Wall and the USSR fell to its knees. When terrorists bombed the World Trade Center, we saw a surge of patriotism from the survivors.
Now, it is incumbent on those in power to reignite the torch of American fortitude. Government officials, doctors and politicians must proceed in an objective manner. One that is not swayed by the weary minds of the people, but through the advisory of the experts.
While the government plays a crucial role, it is the people’s tenacity and inclination that will be the driving force in defeating this pandemic. Impulsive response in an untimely manner does not benefit anyone. We must be rational, proceed with caution, listen to the expert’s advice, and remain informed. In the end, we shall overcome the threat of the coronavirus and resume our lives as they once were.
Writer’s note: This story was originally published in the Outspoken Oppa