OPINION

The CP Edit: Godspeed, Michigan

Posted

The rapidly escalating COVID-19 crisis has entered a dangerous new phase, fraught with an unsettling uncertainty that gives rise to legitimate fears for the future of our state and nation. Threatening both human health and financial fortunes with incalculable damage, we are left to contemplate our fate — individually and collectively — in the face of an invisible enemy amid a ceaseless barrage of information that both illuminates and obscures our path forward.

As we consider the potentially devastating consequences of COVID-19, we see the things we take for granted suddenly in jeopardy — our freedoms, our easy access to the necessities of life, our countless comforts and privileges compared to the rest of the world. We see incalculable harm pouring down on millions of everyday Americans: those who live paycheck to paycheck and have no financial reserves to carry them through; small business owners whose enterprises may not survive the next three weeks, much less an economic meltdown that lasts for months; and above all, those who will lose their lives or suffer permanent damage to their health.

Even as we face these horrors, our fears are tempered to a degree by a palpable sense of hope and optimism, because we also see a rising tide of resolve in our community and across the nation that we are all in this together, that we can beat this demon if we all do our part. When called to action, our intrinsic ingenuity and resourcefulness as Americans can be a powerful force in overcoming this unprecedented challenge.

More than anything else, we’re feeling grateful.

We’re grateful for the frontline workers of every stripe who are putting themselves in harm’s way each day to keep the rest of us safe, from doctors and nurses to grocery store clerks and restaurant workers, from the first responders in our police and fire departments to the truck drivers keeping our supply chains intact, and so many more.

We’re grateful for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who earns high marks for her resolute leadership, her careful analysis of a rapidly evolving situation, and her methodical implementation of necessary restrictions as the pandemic engulfs the state. Bucking pressure from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Whitmer’s “Stay Home, Stay Safe” shelter-in-place emergency order was an act of courage that no doubt will save countless lives by flattening the curve, protecting our health care systems from being overwhelmed, and buying precious time to ramp up production of essential supplies that will be critical to waging a protracted battle against the virus.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the not-so-presidential clown show is in full effect, featuring the nation’s unstable, ostensible commander-in-chief dishing out his typically toxic soup of grandiosity and nonsense, berating a reporter for asking him what he would say to Americans who are frightened, blithely making wildly unsupportable statements like “this will all be over soon,” and suggesting that the lockdown orders being enacted by more and more governors across the nation should probably be lifted in short order because we are, in his fantasy world, winning the fight and need to get back to work. Setting aside the fact that he has no idea when this will end, and that there is scant evidence to suggest we are winning anything at all, we can only hope that his abject failure to act in the early days of the COVID invasion and his dangerously casual disregard for facts at a critical juncture in our nation’s history, will be the final nails in the coffin of his malignant presidency.

Despite this excruciating vacuum of presidential leadership, we have faith in the public health institutions whose science-based expertise continues to guide our local, state and national strategies to bring the pandemic under control. The apparent success of South Korea’s containment strategy gives us hope that the virus can be beaten if we can quickly and exponentially ramp up testing for COVID-19, broadening the scope to millions of Americans, including those who have no symptoms at all. It is essential that we gather the robust data needed to understand the extent of the virus spread, identify infected individuals, trace their contacts, and isolate them to prevent further transmission.

As for us, we are cautiously optimistic that City Pulse can ride it out. We started in the 2001 recession and we survived the Great Recession. There’s even some savings in paper costs because the many closures have limited our distribution. But those savings are much more than offset by the loss of advertising revenue, the lifeblood of any free publication. They plummeted last week and fell even more this week. We will continue to do our best to deliver relevant, informative news to our readers for as long as possible, including twice-a-day online updates on the latest COVID-19 developments. If you want to help, please see information on P. 3 on how to contribute to the City Pulse Fund.

Only time will tell where and how this will end. As we careen toward a shared destiny unknown, our last words, for and in this moment, are these:

Godspeed, Michigan.

City Pulse needs your support now more than ever. Advertising — almost all our revenue —  has fallen sharply because of closures due to the coronavirus. Our staff is working seven days a week to help keep you informed. Please do what you can at this time to contribute to the City Pulse Fund. All donations are tax-deductible. 

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