Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Of Monuments and Men (revised)

 

AmericaRegardless of whether the coronavirus itself is a national crisis, Americans suddenly find themselves sinking waist-deep into recessional quicksand as quarantine and shelter-in-place orders pop up in cities across the country when only weeks ago we were treading on rock-solid ground. The fog of the pandemic war is closing in from all sides. Fear is crippling the economy with each tumble of the stock market, each business that closes, and every American that enters unemployment. We are constantly bombarded with statistics predicting doomsday – and many of those come from people thirsting for a disaster to lay at the feet of the Trump administration.

Americans with a healthy skepticism of our impending doom at the hands of the WuFlu are branded science deniers or even of being responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths. But after wailing about World War III with Iran and North Korea, the destruction of the internet over net neutrality, or the end of American democracy at the hands of Russia, then Ukraine, then Russia why should anyone blindly believe a news media or editorial board who time and again acts like the Boy Who Cried Wolf? Or who all but guaranteed a Hillary Clinton presidency? And pardons to those who think the federal government is the answer to our problems. But to borrow a phrase: the government is the problem. I’m a little suspicious when the biggest entity currently left running is the entity that runs things the worst.

It’s tempting to accept this as too big a problem to not leave to the government. While it is true the federal government can leverage powers to mobilize resources and centralize information for (relatively) quick and uniform circulation, it’s also true that any effort would be lost if not for the will of the average American to fight for survival – both economically and life itself. Americans on the ground choose how we react, and act, in times of strife. We can succumb to overwhelming panic, point fingers in a cowardly game of blame, or we can fight – together.

This is a time of equal uncertainty and risk. We’ve already seen the pettiness of reporters and journalists accusing President Trump of racism for calling out China’s role in spreading the coronavirus. Never Trump ride-or-die loyalists are excusing the Chinese government’s role in the pandemic because their deep dislike of Trump supersedes any rational thought. Many look to the United States government to take action as the last best hope of humanity. It’s a knee jerk reaction for those wanting an excuse to expand the federal government or as an ego boost for a Washington D.C. pundit who thinks he has the solution to fix humanity. But the world isn’t the seed-ground for utopia; President Reagan didn’t believe that political bureaucracy perfects human nature (and I don’t think President Trump does, either). A small group of socioeconomic and cultural elites in Washington can’t plan our lives better than we can for ourselves. It’s keeping power in the people, not the government keeping power from the people. That is part of why Reagan, and Trump, are so despised. It’s the American people who will pull together – must pull together – to achieve victory over fear and desperation. We will follow the guidelines put forth by the CDC, but must not sit idly by and wait for someone to rescue us.

I accept the ugly part of society that will always lash out at the innocent during a crisis; they would throw their own mothers in the crocodile pit if it meant safety for one more day. But I also accept and take comfort in the other side: the customer who bought a bag of dog food for a stranger who just lost her job at a closed casino. A young couple getting groceries for an elderly neighbor. Stores voluntarily opening early for the medically vulnerable. We see it time after time: Christians standing guard outside synagogues after targeted violence, the Cajun Navy rescuing people from flooded homes, firefighters running up the burning stairwells of the World Trade Center on 9/11 as the buildings collapsed around them. It’s standing up with bold determination to help our fellow Americans because it is right and it is good, not because the government-mandated it, but because the average American steps in to fill the void the government cannot.

We will survive this on the sacrifices of the working American who always bears the brunt of economic and political turmoil. Elites who have eyes and fingers attached to their smartphones and opine about having to fire his housekeeper because she might carry the virus preaches sacrifice to the very cleaner, hairdresser, barkeep, server, and ticket-taker who are now without jobs. But Americans will find a way to band together as communities, friends, and neighbors, despite our ‘Betters’’ efforts to divide us by race, class, religion, and political affiliation. We won’t do it by licking the boots of the Chinese. We won’t do it by rolling over like the Europeans, foregoing treatment to administer Last Rites to a generation who survived the Great Depression and won the Second World War. We will do it because Americans defy the odds. We fight like our lives depend on it because it does. We are the America that righted the wrong of slavery, who conquered fascism and communism, who cheered Jackie Owens and the Miracle on Ice.

We are the torchbearers of men like 78-year-old farmer Samuel Whittemore, who on April 19, 1775, was shot in the face by British soldiers, bayoneted six times and clubbed in the head with the butts of their muskets after he shot three Boston-bound British soldiers near his house. The stubborn Revolutionary refused to die, living another 18 years even though the British musket had torn away part of his face. In an era when monuments are torn down, this man as much as any is deserving of his own marker. But you won’t find his likeness at the National Mall or his bust in the National Statuary Hall in the Capitol just like there is no monument to the people who wake up every day facing uncertainty, hardship, and loss, but who rise anyway and do their best to be stewards of a nation of hope and opportunity. That The American doesn’t have a monument is precisely why we don’t need one: we are living testaments to the enduring spirit of freedom. We work thanklessly to make certain liberty isn’t smothered by the blanket of security.

President Theodore Roosevelt’s words may as well be etched in the hearts of those Americans who rise to the challenge, despite the risk of failure, and fight on:

It is not the critic who counts, not the one who points out how the strong man stumbled or how the doer of deeds might have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred with sweat and dust and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; who, if he wins, knows the triumph of high achievement; and who, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat.

-April 23, 1910 “Citizenship in a Republic”

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  1. Stad Thatcher

    The over-reaction to this virus is unconscionable. Our multiple levels of government are willing to put millions of people out of work because they don’t want to be responsible for a single death from one particular strain, regardless of the fact tens of thousands will die from the regular flu. And yes, Trump’s to blame. One moron on PMSNBC even thinks Trump is guilty of murder:

    https://www.foxnews.com/media/msnbc-glenn-kirschner-trump-coronavirus

     

    • #1
    • March 18, 2020, at 7:52 AM PDT
    • 10 likes
  2. Bob Thompson Member

    Stad (View Comment):
    The over-reaction to this virus is unconscionable. Our multiple levels of government are willing to put millions of people out of work because they don’t want to be responsible for a single death from one particular strain, regardless of the fact tens of thousands will die from the regular flu. And yes, Trump’s to blame. One moron on PMSNBC even thinks Trump is guilty of murder:

    This seems part of an overall malaise that has infected our society that itself may be worse in its effects than any of the viruses we have experienced. Mental health cases and drug addicted live and die in outdoor public spaces: violent felonies are now misdemeanors and offenders are free to act as they please: public schools fail to teach what children need to learn and universities turn our young people away from our constitutional principles: all of these things and more don’t take place without extracting a price.

    • #2
    • March 18, 2020, at 8:07 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  3. Postmodern Hoplite Member

    JennaStocker: We are the torchbearers of men like 78-year-old farmer Samuel Whittemore, who on April 19, 1775 was shot in the face by British soldiers, bayoneted six times and clubbed in the head with the butts of their muskets after he shot three Boston-bound British soldiers near his house. The stubborn Revolutionary refused to die, living another 18 years even though the British musket had torn away part of his face. In an era when monuments are torn down, this man as much as any is deserving of his own marker.

    Samuel Whittemore likely would have dismissed any notion of a memorial being raised to commemorate his name. All the more reason to remember him. I hadn’t know of him before today (despite being a scholar of the Revolutionary War) but I’ll know of him hereafter, that’s for certain sure.

    • #3
    • March 18, 2020, at 10:21 AM PDT
    • 8 likes
  4. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker

    Postmodern Hoplite (View Comment):

    JennaStocker: We are the torchbearers of men like 78-year-old farmer Samuel Whittemore, who on April 19, 1775 was shot in the face by British soldiers, bayoneted six times and clubbed in the head with the butts of their muskets after he shot three Boston-bound British soldiers near his house. The stubborn Revolutionary refused to die, living another 18 years even though the British musket had torn away part of his face. In an era when monuments are torn down, this man as much as any is deserving of his own marker.

    Samuel Whittemore likely would have dismissed any notion of a memorial being raised to commemorate his name. All the more reason to remember him. I hadn’t know of him before today (despite being a scholar of the Revolutionary War) but I’ll know of him hereafter, that’s for certain sure.

    “I’ll know of him hereafter, that’s for certain sure.”

    Great! He has quite a story beyond the snippet I shared. A man who embodies the American Spirit from the very beginning. We should be proud to have such men and such stories. We have them today, too, and I agree, we don’t want, or need the honors. It’s who we are!

    • #4
    • March 18, 2020, at 10:28 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  5. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker

    Bob Thompson (View Comment):
    all of these things and more don’t take place without extracting a price.

    We will find out soon what that price is. I think the present situation is a preview of things to come.

    • #5
    • March 18, 2020, at 2:33 PM PDT
    • 2 likes
  6. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker

    Stad (View Comment):
    all of these things and more don’t take place without extracting a price.

    It’s a symptom of a NYC/DC centric society. Didn’t you know the world revolves around the mid-Atlantic corridor? We just play bit parts…

    • #6
    • March 18, 2020, at 2:35 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  7. Bob Thompson Member

    JennaStocker (View Comment):

    Stad (View Comment):
    all of these things and more don’t take place without extracting a price.

    It’s a symptom of a NYC/DC centric society. Didn’t you know the world revolves around the mid-Atlantic corridor? We just play bit parts…

    Along with the Left Coast, yes, I know. We have barely been hanging on because of the Constitution, the electoral college and two senators from each state. I also understand that we get almost all of our innovation from those places but that includes all the bad stuff too.

    • #7
    • March 18, 2020, at 2:51 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  8. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker

    **I don’t know if it’s allowed, but I edited this post from earlier in the week to better reflect how the American Spirit is one of the hardest passions to extinguish. We are a nation of fighters and we will only be defeated by ourselves. Don’t listen to the people condemning us to hell. Most have a partisan agenda or are too weak to fight. That’s all. Thanks for indulging my unhindered patriotism. I might go watch Rocky IV now.

    • #8
    • March 21, 2020, at 3:41 PM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    For ten years I worked at an office on Whittemore Ave at the north end of Cambridge, just across Alewife Brook and the town of Arlington where he was wounded. I walked past his monument many times. Tough guy. 

    • #9
    • March 21, 2020, at 5:23 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  10. Mark Camp Member

    Just now at work a friend and I had both just been issued our “Letters of Transit” (see the movie “Casablanca) by the Governor of Ohio (not the Vichy Government).

    We are both, for the time being, considered critical workers for the needs of the State. The local police will permit us to leave our houses starting on Monday, as long as we are on official business, when we’re expected to learn that martial law has been imposed even in “Republican”-governed Ohio.

    My buddy suggested strongly that he will not put up with the requirements of the police state when they go after him. He put his hand on the holstered .45 that he always legally carries on his hip to emphasize the point. (No one has ever complained about him carrying in our store. SW Ohioans are a special breed).

    I explained that the deep state is not concerned about one armed man standing up and protesting, but only about 10 million of us suddenly saying they’ve finally gone too far.

    He retorted something to the effect that maybe one man standing up for our rights, despite being crushed as an individual, would inspire the 10 million to action.

    I hope he’s right.

     

     

    • #10
    • March 21, 2020, at 5:30 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  11. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker

    Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… (View Comment):

    For ten years I worked at an office on Whittemore Ave at the north end of Cambridge, just across Alewife Brook and the town of Arlington where he was wounded. I walked past his monument many times. Tough guy.

    I’m glad it still stands. Thank you for sharing a personal note!

    I found this picture a while back: Samuel Whittemore’s ‘monument’. Quite a tough guy, indeed!

    • #11
    • March 21, 2020, at 5:30 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  12. Stad Thatcher

    JennaStocker (View Comment):
    I might go watch Rocky IV now.

    Rocky III is my favorite. Gotta love me some Mr. T!

    • #12
    • March 22, 2020, at 6:41 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  13. Ralphie Member

    Heros come in all forms. We are saturated with the Marvel make believe type today, but the real heroes are real people that are not perfect. A hero displays integrity. They step up.

    9/11 focused on firemen, today it is truck drivers, grocery clerks, etc.,

     

    • #13
    • March 23, 2020, at 9:11 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  14. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker

    Ralphie (View Comment):

    Heros come in all forms. We are saturated with the Marvel make believe type today, but the real heroes are real people that are not perfect. A hero displays integrity. They step up.

    9/11 focused on firemen, today it is truck drivers, grocery clerks, etc.,

     

    Well said @ralphie The unsung heroes put themselves on the front lines, sacrificing their well being for the rest of us. And they who deserve the most praise and thanks usually don’t receive it, nor do they ask for it. Heroes indeed.

    • #14
    • March 23, 2020, at 10:03 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  15. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker

    Mark Camp (View Comment):

    Just now at work a friend and I had both just been issued our “Letters of Transit” (see the movie “Casablanca) by the Governor of Ohio (not the Vichy Government).

    We are both, for the time being, considered critical workers for the needs of the State. The local police will permit us to leave our houses starting on Monday, as long as we are on official business, when we’re expected to learn that martial law has been imposed even in “Republican”-governed Ohio.

    My buddy suggested strongly that he will not put up with the requirements of the police state when they go after him. He put his hand on the holstered .45 that he always legally carries on his hip to emphasize the point. (No one has ever complained about him carrying in our store. SW Ohioans are a special breed).

    I explained that the deep state is not concerned about one armed man standing up and protesting, but only about 10 million of us suddenly saying they’ve finally gone too far.

    He retorted something to the effect that maybe one man standing up for our rights, despite being crushed as an individual, would inspire the 10 million to action.

    I hope he’s right.

    “He retorted something to the effect that maybe one man standing up for our rights, despite being crushed as an individual, would inspire the 10 million to action.

    I hope he’s right.”

    Thank you for this. I’m cautiously thinking there are millions who mourn the loss of liberty and freedom taken from us each year-but they won’t let the last vestiges of it go without a fight. I think this situation, when we clear the “impending doom” hurdle and our economy gets back on track, will crystallize what we have lost, and say “no more!”

    • #15
    • March 23, 2020, at 10:54 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  16. Danny Alexander Member

    I’m from Lexington, MA and in fact I’m hunkered down there (here) right now; my first elementary school was named for Captain Parker, and my junior high school bears William Diamond’s name.

    Heroes such as these didn’t fight from sheer orneriness — their will to fight and willingness to die fighting emerged from a clarity of purpose, itself derived from analysis of a clear chain of facts and events in the run-up to April 19, 1775.

    If measures and regimens called for by our Federal government can help establish, quickly, such a necessary clear chain of facts and events — such that they lend themselves to a speedy and effective analysis of just what it really is that’s hitting us, and thus lead us rapidly to our own clarity of purpose in this crisis — then I don’t see the point in being ornery and braying about “overreaction” just for cussedness’ sake. Quite the contrary — we’d be committing national suicide with such behavior.

    No question that just about anyone with a D/Democrat affiliation has impure motives in the present circumstances. That’s where we thank our deplorable stars and our irredeemably good fortune that we have the POTUS we do, and get on with supporting whatever needs doing to figure out what can turn the tide.

    And a tide it is, not some mere ripple — what we’re confronting is deadly serious.

    I strongly suspect that this virus emerged, however accidentally, from the virology lab in Wuhan — a diabolically engineered instrument of almost (almost) insuperable lethality as regards a fairly specific set of human targets and local climates.

    In China at present, all evidence points to continued ravages at least in Wuhan (and elsewhere in Hubei province?), notwithstanding the Xi regime’s fiat that victory be proclaimed. (See reporting in The Daily Caller as well as Helen Raleigh’s latest column at The Federalist.)

    Prior to said fiat, the CCP/PLA dictatorship engaged in a containment campaign that effectively trashed wide-ranging segments of the PRC economy, and unhesitatingly condemned a significant number of Wuhan/Hubei denizens to their premature demise through drastic lockdown of the populace there (and elsewhere in the country for a period of time). Personally, I find it next to impossible to accept that this is anywhere remotely a garden-variety SOP response to a naturally occurring virus, however strong.

    I made the abrupt decision in mid-February to relocate from Tokyo to Boston — notwithstanding the valuable 2.5 years of validity I had left on my Japanese work visa — with this concern top of mind. Of course, my hopes of finding refuge in Fortress America proved misplaced — so I’m left with praying that my assessment of the nature of the virus also proves spectacularly wrong.

    • #16
    • March 23, 2020, at 10:16 PM PDT
    • 1 like
  17. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker

    Danny Alexander (View Comment):

    I’m from Lexington, MA and in fact I’m hunkered down there (here) right now; my first elementary school was named for Captain Parker, and my junior high school bears William Diamond’s name.

    Heroes such as these didn’t fight from sheer orneriness — their will to fight and willingness to die fighting emerged from a clarity of purpose, itself derived from analysis of a clear chain of facts and events in the run-up to April 19, 1775.

    If measures and regimens called for by our Federal government can help establish, quickly, such a necessary clear chain of facts and events — such that they lend themselves to a speedy and effective analysis of just what it really is that’s hitting us, and thus lead us rapidly to our own clarity of purpose in this crisis — then I don’t see the point in being ornery and braying about “overreaction” just for cussedness’ sake. Quite the contrary — we’d be committing national suicide with such behavior.

    No question that just about anyone with a D/Democrat affiliation has impure motives in the present circumstances. That’s where we thank our deplorable stars and our irredeemably good fortune that we have the POTUS we do, and get on with supporting whatever needs doing to figure out what can turn the tide.

    And a tide it is, not some mere ripple — what we’re confronting is deadly serious.

    I strongly suspect that this virus emerged, however accidentally, from the virology lab in Wuhan — a diabolically engineered instrument of almost (almost) insuperable lethality as regards a fairly specific set of human targets and local climates.

    In China at present, all evidence points to continued ravages at least in Wuhan (and elsewhere in Hubei province?), notwithstanding the Xi regime’s fiat that victory be proclaimed. (See reporting in The Daily Caller as well as Helen Raleigh’s latest column at The Federalist.)

    Prior to said fiat, the CCP/PLA dictatorship engaged in a containment campaign that effectively trashed wide-ranging segments of the PRC economy, and unhesitatingly condemned a significant number of Wuhan/Hubei denizens to their premature demise through drastic lockdown of the populace there (and elsewhere in the country for a period of time). Personally, I find it next to impossible to accept that this is anywhere remotely a garden-variety SOP response to a naturally occurring virus, however strong.

    I made the abrupt decision in mid-February to relocate from Tokyo to Boston — notwithstanding the valuable 2.5 years of validity I had left on my Japanese work visa — with this concern top of mind. Of course, my hopes of finding refuge in Fortress America proved misplaced — so I’m left with praying that my assessment of the nature of the virus also proves spectacularly wrong.

    I think we’re in agreement on this – that Americans (including our Revolutionary forefathers) fight best and hardest with a clear, common goal. But this situation is a bit twisted because today’s “everything-is-politics” environment muddies the waters. The media and partisanship by Democrats, and defensiveness by Republicans, it hard to trust the message from the federal, and to some extent state governments. Add in the affects of social media where misinformation spreads like wildfire, and it truly can be a storm of chaos. But at a community level, people still react to strife and hardship and an enemy, however unseen, with bravery, selflessness, and compassion. We don’t need the government to tell us to do so.

    • #17
    • March 23, 2020, at 11:10 PM PDT
    • Like