Vietnam Milestone

If this pandemic were a war, Coronavirus is simply the ammunition. The reality of this twisted irony is that humans are the enemy, soldier and quite literally, the weapon.

Is this pandemic our generation’s Vietnam?

Analogies aside, there’s nothing factual that anyone can say about this pandemic that sounds anything but an exaggeration.

Looking back in history, all wars have tolls, economic and otherwise. Our freedoms are always threatened or amended during a war. How is this war different?

Is it the economy? Is it the elusive denominator? Is it the number of tests? Is it the number of deaths? How many have to die for us to see that it is not panic that keeps us home and wearing masks in public, just prudent and necessary actions against this horrible pandemic. Is 40,934 enough? Because that’s how many US soldiers were killed in action during the last horrible war  in this country, the Vietnam war.

A grim milestone in this pandemic:
By the end of today, deaths by Coronavirus will surpass those killed in action during the Vietnam war. https://www.archives.gov/research/military/vietnam-war/casualty-statistics Unfortunately, this is not an exaggeration.

Trying to wrap my head around the situation that we all find ourselves in, I can’t help but think of the roles we all play in this ongoing debacle. Regardless of the costs to our economy, freedoms and mental and physical health, what is the purpose, accountabilities and tactics of these roles? And, since we all have the choice to fill these roles or not, how does that choice contribute to the success or failure of this war? How do we define success or failure? Is the collapsed economy and lack of freedoms already definition enough? Have we already failed and now it’s just a matter of letting go of our accountabilities and accept our fate in a victim role? If so, are we then part of the inevitable spreading of the virus, like a suicide bomber?

The way I see it, the entire world is the battlefield. Our tactics are to social distance, wear masks when appropriate, wash our hands and just stay home as much as possible. When we do go out for food, or errands, we are literally in the line of fire.

In past wars, brave soldiers fought for our freedoms. Ironically, in this war, the only way we can win is to sacrifice some of our freedoms, at least temporarily. 

During the Vietnam war, as the death toll increased, so did the protesting against the war. While this war against a wildly misunderstood virus is hardly similar to the Vietnam war, it gives me some form of substance to grab onto in my mind as I struggle to understand my roles and how to energize them for good. And, it gives me perspective for understanding others with differing perspectives.

The roles and accountabilities of the front line health workers is clear. They are responding to the wounded and dying. But, our roles, as stay-at-homers, as clearly defined as they are, apparently don’t seem to be as necessary to everyone, even as the death toll soars locally and globally. This is evidenced by the protests against the stay-at-home order.

These are folks who think they don’t have a role in fighting this pandemic. They think the few accountabilities that are expected of most of us are over-reactions and against our constitutional rights. If you define success in this war as, “save as many peoples lives as possible”, they are the enemy. They are like suicide bombers, spreading the virus, literally with their presence at these events and philosophically with their behavior and actions.

What is going on in the minds of these protestors? Why are they questioning orders from the Governor of the state that are meant to fight this virus? Why don’t they see that we are fighting an invisible enemy where anyone can be assumed to be firing ammo everywhere in public? It’s a global pandemic affecting 7 billion people and everyone on the planet is a soldier fighting. The only tactics we have involve our mask, soap and home.

“Bring home the troops”, indeed. We need you here to help fight this enemy.