I worry about our snowbirds, my buddies who made a beeline for the Sunshine State as soon as a snowflake fell on the Pure Michigan State.
Now is the time they all flock home. They can’t stay down in Florida forever. The rental time is up. The owner is waving them out. He’s moving back in.
But will our governor, with her lockdown in full sway, let Michiganders, who fled in such glee and celebration, back in? Who knows? It could be time for my pals to pay the piper. While we’re at home, safe and looking out the window, they may be adrift, like passengers on a ship denied a port of call.
Clearly our governor is of a mind to deny landing rights to a plane full of old-timers from Florida. They could be bringing back more than swimsuits and suntans. Of course, they could hop in a car and head north along backroads. National Guard troops could be checking the expressways. Might be best to drive at night. If they can get as far as Indiana, we could help sneak ‘em across the border.
Once back home, they can look out the window with the rest of us. They can worry about paying their Florida get-away Visa card, wonder about a job, watch bank accounts run dry, forget about the planned knee surgery, risk a trip to the grocery store for vittles – and dither and fuss about everything else.
Our way of life is decreed by the curve of a line on a graph. There are a lot of “cant’s” to follow. We can’t go to work. Can’t go to church. Can’t drive to the cottage. Can’t bat a ball. Can’t hang out. Can’t go to school. Can’t make ends meet. Can’t do this. Can’t do that. All we can do is stay put – and hope.
We hope the governor and other politicians in D.C. ignore Rahm Emanuel’s “Never let a serious crisis go to waste” advice. That’s hard for them to resist. We hope the governor and the crowd in Washington will do what’s right. Hope they know what’s right. I’m not sure they do. Hope somebody listens to us when we cry, “Let us get back to work – no matter what.”
We’ve got to stop smothering the economy in a vain attempt to save every person who lives within our borders. We can’t stop the virus. We can only slow it down. It will run its course. Hopefully, we’ll find a vaccine. But that will take time. We’ve passed the spike in infections. Our hospitals and health care systems have prevailed. We have, in fact, reached the goal of the initial lockdown, which was to keep the hospitals functioning. New treatment protocols have strengthened our defense. The plague will pass. But the longer we let our economic engine sputter and stall, the greater will be the overall price to the country. Millions face economic ruin.
We need to get off the dime. We can’t wait for the virus to suddenly disappear. It won’t. Even if it does, it can reappear. At some point, the president will have to declare an “all clear,” get people back to work and stop the hemorrhage of federal spending. When this happens, I know there will the naysayers, the doubters and the Trump-haters, and the biased press, who will protest the decision in a “never let a crises go to waste” firestorm. It will have come to that.
I suppose the near hysterical squabbling in Washington will continue. The Democrats can’t help themselves. They’re afflicted with their own “Hate Trump” virus. The Republicans strike back. Both sides look for advantage in the coming election. Despite all thepatriotic posturing, I wonder if it’s not the election that really dominates their coronavirus thinking.
And I wonder if it’s not time for us to decide when to open up the country. That could be a decision too important to leave to the politicians. Their personal and party agendas may not jibe with our own. If so, then it’s time for us to tell them what to do. It’s time for “We the People” to put it to a vote via a special referendum – or for the community businesses to stand together and open one or two days a week for a start. It’s our country, our future – and our responsibility. We just can’t sit and wait for everything to come tumblin’ down. Or so it seems to some of us who sit alone in on an empty bench, nestled in our invisible six-foot bubble, with hands scrubbed clean, mask slightly askew and all aching to take control of our lives – and to move on.
Dick Magee is a resident of Klinger Lake and a frequent columnist for the Journal’s Viewpoints page.