Stunning, simply stunning! How many of us are able to initially comprehend the loss of life of America’s citizens in that magnitude? The combined number of fatalities we have experienced exceeds the combined total of American deaths in the Korean War and Vietnam conflict. 100,000! And by the time you read this, there will be scores more.
In truth, for the past couple of weeks I have been working on a piece about the importance of the arts in our lives. However with the ongoing challenges we have with the coronavirus I have altered a priority or two.
There are bits and pieces of angst, anger, frustration and hope mixed into my current attitude toward the dilemma of how we as a nation, state, and local government have coped with the coronavirus.
Admittedly my personal feelings in dealing with the virus comes from concern for the health of my family, friends, and certainly a slightly different perspective when still feeling responsible to a city of 40,000 citizens as the former mayor.
So let’s start local…and I include Edmonds and all of Snohomish County as local. As of last weekend we in Snohomish County have lost 145 citizens, 24 of those from Edmonds. I think most of us believe we have more deaths than that. I haven’t traveled the county much, but then I am “locked down” too. But by following reports in media and conversations with decision makers and friends, we have made great progress.
Our County Exec, Council and Health District have co-ordinated well in having us understand the significance of the hard work we need to do to work our way out of the “lockdown”. Even though we have have not perfectly met all of the Governor’s criteria to move to the next phase, the County has applied through the appeal process to move us to “phase 2”. Wish us all luck there. I still need a haircut and we need to show progress to assist our retail and restaurant community.
At the Edmonds level our local government has taken a very positive step toward encouraging us to follow the basic rules of distancing, washing hands and wearing masks when in public. We as a community have responded as I guessed and knew we would. Last weekend while at the local grocery store, as an example, virtually everyone in the store wore a mask! We have been serious!
At the state level, our Governor has taken us down the correct path. Laying out ground rules, monitoring progress carefully and laying out a path for success to move us out of “lockdown” We are in the middle of that process, but so far we have taken his guidelines seriously and with few exceptions made great progress.
At the national level we are a nation with at best, mixed results. The institutions we expect to show leadership such as the CDC and NIH have shown that leadership, relying on science and professional recommendations from years of research and experience. Kudos to Dr. Birx and Dr. Fauci for their leadership in delivering strong messages and not backing down in certain key situations.
At the Federal level we have had to witness lack of decision making on policy, and then modifying with almost daily or weekly shifts in those policy decisions causing extensive delay and progress. The most troubling of course was waiting for our leader to admit to the nation after two months delay and excuse making, we were in fact in the midst of a pandemic. Beyond those delay’s, we have endured leaders not following key task force recommendations such as wearing of facial masks in public and going further afield with suggestions to the nation such as injecting disinfectant into our bodies or taking hydroxychloroquine as potential cures. Leaders need to lead, not dither. Admittedly the President is not responsible for the virus, but the lack of leadership at key points has in part caused pain and suffering to countless thousands of individuals and their families with illness and death.
So after that ramble, we are where we are. At the local and state level we have had successful progress with attacking the pandemic. While it stresses me there are those who will continue to use hoax or violation of personal liberties as the theme for the resistance, collectively while paralyzed with the self imposed isolation and the knowledge we have lost more than 100,000 of our fellow citizens, we as a nation will continue to understand we have the strength and ability to work together to defeat our challenge
— By Dave Earling
Former Edmonds Mayor Dave Earling is a music educator and business owner. He and his wife Susan have three adult children and four grandchildren.