Many American voices are asking: “Why is the European Union successfully flattening the Covid-19 curve, while we have completely failed during the same space of time?” Putting aside the abysmal, incompetent leadership of President Trump, I believe I may know the answer.
Europe had to muster the discipline to endure and survive two other major 20th century crises: World War I and World War II. Whether a country was part of the Allies or the Axis, all of Europe had to learn patience and perseverance in order to prevent total destruction, and this kind of selflessness has become ingrained in generations of all European nations.
The magnitude of suffering, particularly during World War II, prepared 21st century Europeans to promptly engage this pandemic threat. Just the opposite is true for many Americans. Led by a self-centered autocrat (who refuses to absorb the science which has been embraced in Europe), tens of millions of our citizens couldn’t find the strength or discipline to allow doctors and scientists the six months necessary to lead us through a deadly plague.
Yes, political leadership matters; and Donald Trump, by any standard of any century, has proved to be the worst choice ever made by the American electorate. But it is clearly the weak, ignorant behavior of that same electorate which must assume responsibility for the deaths of thousands of our countrymen. When this new crisis has passed, each of us will have to carefully examine our capacity to defend our homeland — not only in war — but in the face of an invisible, deadly enemy which will not be ignored.