Michigan continues to be a “hot spot” for the coronavirus, with those afflicted now well over 20,000 and still escalating. Detroit’s vulnerable population, many of whom are poor and elderly, has been especially hard hit. Michigan’s governor, Gretchen Whitmer, was early to issue a stay-at-home order and this week she extended it with added stringent conditions. A few thoughts.
Last week, Governor Whitmer was the toast of the twitterverse–the brave Katniss Everdeen fighting the evil President Snow, or Trump if you will. Now after her more stringent lockdown order, in the same venue she is “callous” or “authoritarian” or worse.
As citizens, we have the absolute (almost) right to criticize our leaders. But, in this time of crisis let us speak with a spirit of generosity for our leaders’ travails.
I’m reminded of Jack Nicholson’s line in the movie A Few Good Men: “I have a greater responsibility than you can possibly fathom.” I guarantee that when the next nursing home has 10 deaths and 20 caretakers test positive, or as the grim reaper continues to take a toll of elderly black men and women in Detroit, that Governor Whitmer will feel the weight more than you or I. Let us as citizens feel free to voice our opinions, but let’s also have some charity and humility.
Yesterday along Hines Drive, a roadway following the Rouge River’s course through suburban Detroit, the grass was a brilliant green beneath an amiable sun. Walkers and bikers frequented the paths, though we were keeping a safe distance, while various harbingers of Spring chirped or trilled or quacked from the nearby wetlands. Sorely tried at present, the faith of renewal remains alive.
A prayer for our beleaguered health care workers in the Detroit area, as they wage the battle on behalf of us all. This cup, too, shall pass from you; we can only hope soon.
Real generosity to the future lies in giving all to the present.
I have been re-reading Albert Camus’ 1947 novel, The Plague, this week. As Camus tells the tale, the indefatigable Dr. Rieux and his comrades try to stem the ravages of the plague in a North African port town. Since this is a Camus novel, the characters occasionally wax philosophical. And the story is an allegory, drawing on Camus’ wartime experience fighting the Nazi plague afflicting Europe, when he was the editor of the French Resistance’s paper, Combat.
While the theme of the quote above is embedded in this novel, it actually comes from an essay, The Rebel, a cri de coeur against nihilism of the Left and Right, written by Camus several years later.
Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive.
I have used the eminent psychologist’s quote in prior posts, but I felt it had special meaning in these uncertain times. As Dr. Erikson often ended his talks, Take care. Which especially applies now to yourself and all of us together.
Hope can be symbolized by a blue sky reflected in tranquil water or flowers budding by a stream swollen with Spring rains. Or hope can be seen in the shimmering light gracing trees on a hill or heard in a stream gurgling over rocks in a northern forest.
Just because it’s time for a pugnacious squirrel photo.
And in today’s news, Ford Motor Co, headquartered in Dearborn, Michigan, announced that it will be partnering with 3M to produce “powered air-purifying respirators” for the safety of medical care providers. In addition, Ford and its production workers will begin producing 100,000 plastic face shields weekly. “The company will also use its 3D printing machinery to make disposable respirators,” USA Today reported.