A House Divided

Couldn’t really sleep tonight. I woke up and then my brain decided to kick around a what-if scenario. Specifically if the people of the U.S. today were magically swapped with the people of the early 1940s how would they fare? Would we still be on the winning side of World War II? That kept bouncing around in my brain and eventually decided that it’s hard to see how we would have.

Today half the country is having a fit at being asked to simply place a cloth over their face in an effort to help us win a war against a common enemy. For a variety of “reasons” I guess. Freedom. Or it turns you communist, or it kills you or… something. People who’ve worked job requiring a mask all day for years are probably surprised to learn that they should all be dead by now. Whatever, I really don’t understand and have given up trying. But I can’t help but wonder what their reaction would be to being told that, say, you’re no longer allowed to buy sugar… or coffee. The government will be in charge of distributing that and deciding how much each person gets. Not only that but they’ll decide how much gas you can put in your car and it’s likely going to be no more than a few gallons a week. Oh and while we’re at it the national speed limit is now 35 MPH. Can you even begin to imagine the reaction of Americans today if asked to make those sort of sacrifices? Or, my god, what the media and commentators would make of that sort of communist thinking?! Are you kidding me? We would crumble. There’s no way we could handle it. But our grandparents and great-grandparents did. They didn’t shriek about losing their freedoms. Didn’t say well, you know, only a certain age group and mostly men are dying so it doesn’t affect me or, you know, not all of those deaths are from combat but they are including them in the totals (291,557 died in combat, 113,842 were “Other”) so it’s not as bad as they’re saying. And back then we didn’t cut funding for science, we poured billions into it which gave us a solution that may not have won the war but it sure as shit ended it.

On December 7, 1941 we were attacked. Not Republicans. Not Democrats. Not white people or black people. Not Christian, Jews, Atheists. Americans. On December 8, 1941, exactly 1 day later, the House of Representatives voted 388 to 1 in favor of a declaration of war (88-0 in the Senate). I can’t conceive of any issue today on which Congress would agree so completely. I can imagine the amplification of conspiracy theories that the Republicans were secretly working with Japanese to make FDR look bad or something. I don’t know. Conspiracy theorists are a creative bunch I’ll give them that. Injecting tracking chips with their 5Gs and what not. I wouldn’t have thought of that one and if I had I would never have imagined people would fall for it.

When the pandemic started I was actually, I don’t know if optimistic is the right word, but when it hit here I was like just wait, we may have our differences but watch how we set those aside and come together to kick this thing’s ass. We will pour everything we have into defeating this just like we did during World War II. A new Manhattan Project except this time we’ll save lives. Hell we’ll save the world. Stand back world we are about to show y’all what America is all about! Heh, yes we’ve showed the world what we are about all right.

United States of America. United. United in what exactly? Our distrust? Our hatred towards one another?

Don’t get me wrong, I love my country. I feel blessed to have been born here and thankful for the opportunities I’ve had. But it’s a love similar to that a parent feels towards a child I guess? I take pride in their accomplishments and sympathy when they fail. If they hurt I hurt. If they go astray doesn’t mean I stop loving them. I hope they find their way back, though it is a bit of a helpless feeling waiting and hoping for that to happen as I’m sure my parents could attest. I guess that’s where I’m at. Just waiting and hoping that we find our way back.