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