As each day passes, the news and informational overload make the path on our future more and more unclear. I am absolutely certain we will prevail and get through this but how long and how painful it will be is the question. The optimistic approach is to open up and get the economy back on track, pronto. The pessimistic approach is to look back to the 1918 pandemic and prevent a second wave. Which direction is the better path? That depends on what side of the aisle you are on politically—and that is a shame for all of us.
I am moderate and can see both sides of the argument. I wish we had a more comprehensive, unified and clear strategy to the virus and the economic fallout. Maybe that is not possible. However, watching our government tear itself apart and media pundits rubbing their hands together in joy of the other side’s missteps is not helping.
One side is looking to place all the blame on the current administration and the other is claiming victory as if the landing crafts are just now hitting the shores of Normandy. It is a shame at this time of need, our officials cannot work together for the people of America and the world.
We have traditionally relied on our government for sound advice with a cohesive, calm and reassuring message. That includes Congress, Senators and the White House. That has not occurred in my eyes and whether it is due to media prejudice, fabricated mistruths or political bias, does not matter to many of us. We just want to know the truth and the best plan of action to get through this.
The message seems to be that this virus will likely be with us for a while, so we need to figure out what our future will look like in this new normal. If you are not already brainstorming with your team to figure what shifts are likely to occur and what actions you can take to meet challenges and grab opportunities, you may already be behind the curveball. This is a new era upon us and as the days pass, you must filter the news and clear away the conspiracy theories. You should be not be fighting or thrown in the middle of political nonsensical arguments or propaganda. Focus on your business. Start making those changes and plan to shift. Making decisions for your business based on conformational bias or political leanings rarely work out well.
Look to the Past
This pandemic may have similarities to the 9/11 attack, an event that changed the world and the way we live. However, today is not 1918. The speed, cost and ease of global travel is likely the prime reason this pandemic traveled around the world in seemingly record time. Scientific advances will help us understand the “why” and “how” much better than the experts of 1918. While things will and should change, I hope we do not overreact.
After 9/11, the changes in our lives were countless, vast and in some cases silly and opportunistic. Because in reality, the secured cockpit door on commercial planes essentially solved the 9/11 hijacking issue from ever happening again. Rahm Emanuel, former chief of staff to President Obama, once said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” This can be taken many ways but seeing it as an opportunity to make money and profit on others pain and suffering is not what America was built on. At least I hope not. This is where an overreaction to a problem takes the seed of fear. This is where leadership is needed most.
I have family and friends in Europe and what they say to me is that they really miss the leadership the CDC has traditionally set for the rest of the world when it comes to crisis management. It was this agency that has stopped many other pandemics from gaining a global foothold. They have offices around the world and essentially directed the World Health Organization. This has changed in recent years as offices had budgets and staffs cut around the world. We will get through this but will suffer some scars and pay a price. I hope we learn that we would be better to fund the CDC and make them the powerhouse they once were.
I know many other countries would welcome that move too. It may cost us American taxpayers but will that cost be more than what we have already paid? Making America the leader again will be putting America first. It just works out that way.