Reader view: ‘We can help each other pull through’

I am not a Pollyanna. I am seriously frightened by this virus. I will scrupulously follow all restrictions to the best of my knowledge and ability. But at the same time, I wonder if we are not marinating ourselves in negativity, division, and pessimism.

FDR unified a nation when he said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself,” in his inaugural address in 1933. He unified the country by facing facts, and by trying every remedy that came to hand, and also displayed the ability to drop a plan when it wasn’t working. That is leadership.

A few years later, on May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill “Mobilized the English language and  sent it into battle,” as Edward Murrow put it, when he told parliament and the nation that “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears, and sweat.” He unified the country by facing facts and taking stern measures. That is leadership.

We may quibble with this or that in Mayor Nelson’s measures to combat the virus, but we should at the same time salute him for meeting the threat head on, and taking decisive measures well before other, less-fortunate towns. That is leadership, and his measures may and probably will, evolve.

But now it’s time for us to do our part, we who live here in Edmonds, to bring to the table positive ideas, strict self-control, and I hope, perhaps a bit of humor and good cheer when and where possible. We can bear each other up, or do the opposite. I’d like to see My Edmonds News solicit and publish some good news, some positive stories, maybe publish folks’ strategies for dealing with isolation and fear. We can help each other pull through. We can brainstorm and share ideas and small victories.

Boris Johnson has just placed stringent restrictions on movement in the UK. You are allowed to go out for exercise once per day. But at the same time, I am hearing about coping strategies from my friends there – staying in touch via Skype, making a point of calling isolated friends daily, online discussion groups, reading projects, work around the house and garden (Victory Garden, anyone?)  It was the Brussels Sprout that saved England — my aunt Nancy could never look at one again); concerts and operas are being free streamed. During the war, Britains boasted “We can take it.” Edmonds can too. Rosy the Riveter may be in the past, but Rosy the Good Neighbor lives on here.

“Loose lips sink ships.” Too much despondency, too much polarization sink spirits. Edmonds can take it. We all can help. We’ll pull through a bit battered, but together. If we try.

— By Nathaniel Brown

14 Replies to “Reader view: ‘We can help each other pull through’”

  1. Well put Mr. Brown. Agree totally here.

    I watched Gov. Cuomo’s address to New Yorker’s this morning and it was awe inspiring. He has the answers for New York and the entire country as far as taking care of the vulnerable, getting the currently available ventilators and supplies where needed and getting people back to work in as timely and sensible manner as possible. Without being accusatory or negative, he pointed out how the Fed.s, led by Trump, should proceed from here on out for the good of the entire nation.

    One of the things Cuomo pointed out, that is desperately needed, is a test to determine who has already had the illness with little or no symptoms and developed immunity. These are the people who really need to be identified as they have immunity and can be put back to work almost immediately in any area of the economy. The experts have determined that thousands of people have probably already had it and self resolved. This will be a major resource, if it can be identified and mobilized.

    If our national leaders continue to be primarily worried about the stock market, we will be in for a long hall. If they totally concentrate on controlling and defeating the disease and logically taking care of the people financially in the short run and putting people back to work in the long run, the stock market will be fine and society will be well served.


  2. Nathanial, not a single negitive thing in your writing, thanks. You asked for some humor so here goes and a joke I just made up.

    The SCOTUS just met in an emergency session to review the First Amendment. We all know free speech should not include yelling “Fire” in a theater. The have just also suggested that we should not go to Costco, stand in the middle and yell. “I found some toilet paper”.

    Clinton, your last paragraph is not as accurate as it could be. Our national leaders, House, Senate, and President are not just worried about the stock market. Their are some who are working had an developing an income transfer system, (direct cash to people), adding to unemployment insurance, providing some form of “sick leave” system for people working for companies who do not have that benefit, and adding other forms of medical care for those people who do not have insurance.

    If I were in charge I would do one addition thing. This idea is based on the following. 1. Many stocks have lost value. 2. Many will go up in the future some fast some slow. 3. Many of us 99 percenters either do not own stock or if we do our values have gone down. 4. The are about 300m of us and if the govt “gave one share of a new mutual fund they could create. They could give us a $100 stake in this new mutual fund and it would cost only 300m x $100 or just $30B. Then we would all own a $100 stake in a fund that would be worth today $30B. To do this they would have to buy $30B of stock at todays prices, give us all a stake and when the stock goes up we all share in the increase. Probably need a few more details to make this all work but the bottom line is all $300m of us would have a stake in the stock market and not just “rich” people.

    Thanks N and C for some positive comments. What we need now is new ideas to help with the rebuilding of the the economy. We can start with ideas right here in Edmonds.


    1. I herewith confess that I am shamelessly stealing your joke! And for the record, echoing Gail Collins in the NYT, “I’m not hoarding toilet paper, I’m hoarding Cabernet.”


      1. Matt you have managed to make this old man feel like the pop up clowns in the toy with you holding the hammer and pounding them down over and over. Speaking (I guess Matt would want me to be technically correct and use the word “typing”) of your comment “over and over” I can find only one case referenced below in 1969 that only partially overturned the Schenck case that was back in 1919. I am positive you have several cases other then the 1969 case and if you do you do not have to give me their names for it would only make me feel like the pop up clown again and you with the hammer. Below is a citing I found on the internet on wiki and in that writing you can see that will it may be not totally correct it “has since come to be known as synonymous with an action….”

        To this old guy most folks understand the concept of reckless speech and use the “fire” statement to help make a point. All I was trying to do was use this common understanding and make a joke about the uncertain and challenging time in which we find ourselves.

        “The First Amendment holding in Schenck was later partially overturned by Brandenburg v. Ohio in 1969, which limited the scope of banned speech to that which would be directed to and likely to incite imminent lawless action (e.g. a riot). The test in Brandenburg is the current Supreme Court jurisprudence on the ability of government to proscribe speech after that fact. Despite Schenck being limited, the phrase “shouting fire in a crowded theater” has since come to be known as synonymous with an action that the speaker believes goes beyond the rights guaranteed by free speech, reckless or malicious speech, or an action whose outcomes are obvious.””

        Matt, being high on the high risk list for death via CV19 I was only trying to add a little contemporary joke to help us through this time. I am practicing the 6 foot rule in face to face communication and hope to not have to apply that same standard to my keyboard. I beg you not to “strike me again” with your word hammer. But if you feel you need to go ahead, but do it while not coughing on the keyboard just in case.
        Your put down friend.


        1. Well put Darrol. I’m quite sorry too. Part of this comes with the territory of putting yourself out there. You’re a public figure, and a staple in the community.

          In terms of China, their controls on speech have actually caused a lot of damage around the world. Maybe twice the amount of people have died because people weren’t allowed to yell “fire”.

          Economically, the dollar will be destroyed. Right now the dollar is irrationally strong, and the government does not want to [cannot] pay for sovereign debt with a strong dollar. Plan accordingly.


  3. I’m cautiously optimistic that economic help for the little guy is going to come out of the Congress in the next 24 hrs. That’s half the equation. Thousands of people in church celebrating Easter is not a good idea this year; that’s the other half of the equation; much more problematical and controversial I’m afraid.


    1. Economic help would have passed in the Senate yesterday if it hadn’t been for Pelosi getting control of Shumer. When the legislation goes to the House who knows what Pelosi will come up with there.


      1. It’s about life and death, at this point, Ron.

        Let’s set aside Republican and. Democrat views and put our energy into saving humans.

        What else matters if you lose your life?


      2. Perhaps you can be more specific about your objections? My reading indicates that Pelosi wants tigher accountability and more for hospitals and “the average guy,” as opposed to putting most relief into the tried-and-failed trickle-down idea. In the present draft bill for example, if a company takes a multibillion-dollar loan and simply uses it for bailouts and executive compensation, there is “no clear mechanism” for that to be resolved, according to Chris Coons (D, Delaware).

        Pelosi’s bill includes $150 billion for the health-care system, including hospitals, community health centers and government health programs — an additional $80 billion in low-interest loans to hospitals. It contains $500 billion in “grants and interest-free loans, some with forgivable components” for small businesses.

        The bill would force lenders to grant a temporary reprieve from mortgage and car payments and credit card bills, and order the Federal Reserve to provide loan servicers with liquidity to give borrowers to stop paying their mortgages for up to 360 days.
        Public housing residents would also temporarily not have to pay their rent, and student loan borrowers would also have $10,000 of debt forgiven. Negative consumer credit reporting would be halted and foreclosures and evictions would be banned.

        Pelosi’s bill would cost more, true, but these are not times for sloppy or incomplete measures, nor can we forget that “Joe Average” needs help – now! The bill may pass in the next day or so, and I, for one, am glad that Pelosi is insisting that it be as good, and as inclusive as possible.

        (Various sources, notably the Washington Post, quoted pretty closely)


        1. N, I learned the other day that those who may be infected with the CV19 can loose the sense of taste and smell. With social distancing I cannot test if they have a sense of taste but here is what I have done on the notion of smell. I have not showered for a couple of weeks now and all folks have not only keep their distance but they make strange faces, Based on my limited sample all are OK.

          Doubt you will steal that one, but if you do your bill will go up to 2 pints!

          Matt, this is a joke, not need for a you tube to prove me wrong.


        2. Nathaniel, Thank for the review of some of the components of the stimulus package. When govt does things like this it always seems driven by way to many political considerations. My hope is we will support some good data collection on how this all worked and use this knowledge to help craft the next stimulus package. Sadly we will face this again. Thanks for your update.


        3. Were does the stimulus package come from? The government is going to print money, then give some of it back to us, but mostly give it to select industries. Printing money just makes money worth less. So basically the gov/fed is dipping our savings, what little of our stocks and 401k we have, and spending it for us. We are more wise to spend our own money. This is the end.

          Darrol says hes showering, but we’re all actually taking a bath here.


  4. Warren G Harding, in the wake of the Spanish Flu, did almost nothing and the economy bounced back.
    Princeton’s Thomas Woods reads Harding’s Inaugural Address, which emphasized a “Return to Normalcy”. <- amazing listen (what else do you have going on?)

    FDR made the Great Depression – great. The Great Depression lasted from 1932-1948 because of FDR.

    The virus is a big deal. Our Mayor likes to preempt the Governor, the CDC, by being first and noteworthy. I'd suggest that when it's relatively safe to go back to work, that Edmonds be one of the first to defy an shelter in place order. We could save lives by closing skiing mountains. There's a risk-assessment-matrix to all choices. We should all go back to work as soon as possible, which might be sooner than Islee determines or sooner than Seattle determines.


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