On April 1, 2020, I posted “Death springs this April” on the blog. At that time, Michigan, especially southeast Michigan, was facing rising Covid cases and deaths. Next to New York and New Jersey, Michigan was one of the darkest places in the first Covid wave.
There was so much that we didn’t know at the time, but it turns out that this paragraph from my short post proved especially prescient.
Contrary to what politicians promise, we will not be ‘made whole’ by stimulus checks, waived copayments, unemployment assistance, cheap loans, and the rest. I understand the nagging temptation to gloss over the sadness and the threat, but we are better off being honest with ourselves and with each other. The virus, and its aftershocks, will cause hardship for many. O death, we see thy sting.
Last year, we were discussing the first Covid relief package, extended unemployment, and a naive temporary shutdown of normal activities. Unfortunately, too many times we were told that if we just did the right thing, the pandemic would be over soon. Viruses don’t listen well and definitely don’t care about your feelings.
Partisans on all sides spent the year mocking one another. Somehow “my body, my choice” switched sides and common good conservatives were scarce. I too had lapses in judgment and posted a few cheap snipes on the socials. It didn’t help that this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic coincided with what I hope will be a once-in-a-lifetime election year.
One thing is for sure. We should all have a better understanding of the human condition. Humans are frail. The noetic effects of sin are real. The internet is a modern Tower of Babel that centralizes and amplifies folly. See summer riots, Capitol riot, plot to kidnap Gov. Whitmer, etc.
Nevertheless, I don’t think that death springs this April, despite the new Covid wave in Europe and Brazil and despite the impacts of new variants. We do have hope. We have accomplished many things. We have what appear to be safe and effective vaccines. We have much better antiviral treatments. In Michigan, we have stemmed the tide. In terms of cases and deaths, Michigan is now decidedly average and is not a national hot spot. In fact, within the next few weeks, Michigan’s Covid death rate per 1 million residents (≈1,679) will be lower than the national death rate (≈1,651).
While individual humans are frail, the species is resilient. We have survived worse pandemics, and we have survived worse politicians. I promise you.
Given this progress, it is imperative that we do the Covid unwind well. I’ll end with some hopeful suggestions.
- We should avoid super spreader events and keep up some level of mitigation as vaccines are made available to all adults.
- We should adopt a government debt financing plan. The amount of spending over the last year is stunning, and I’m not content to leave it unresolved. Let’s sell some government land and implement necessary cuts and taxes to pay for this 2020-21 deficit spending over time.
- We should get back to church and cultural life. Except for extraordinary cases, online church should not be a thing. This is a time for building and renewal. We know what happens when these basic human needs are neglected. Let’s acknowledge the difference between a modest church or social gathering and a packed nightclub.
- We should focus future government assistance on the people who really need it. In God’s providence, many of us have not suffered either physically or financially through this pandemic. If one can buy GameStop stock with a government stimulus check, one doesn’t need the money. Those who have received government support should be the first to support others in need.
The season of steely grit is thankfully ending. This is a new season and time. Hope will spring this April.