I write the day my state (Illinois) goes into full lock-down in an effort to curb Covid-19 spread. I’m not alone in being a little on edge. My world has been turned upside down.
Trump was asked yesterday (March 20, 2020) at what is likely the beginning of a long Covid-19 fight, what he would say to scared Americans. This was a softball question. It set him up to be a kinder, gentler leader. A leader connected to his people. A leader who could raise the nation like great leaders before him.
“I am a firm believer in the people. If given the truth, they can be depended upon to meet any national crisis.” – Abraham Lincoln
“When written in Chinese, the word ‘crisis’ is composed of two characters. One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” – John F. Kennedy.
Trump whiffed on the question. Instead choosing to attack the reporter.
I went looking for words that would inspire and comfort Americans during this very dangerous time. Here are a few of my favorites.
Larry Brilliant, an epidemiologist who helped defeat polio and warned of the possibility of a pandemic was asked if he was scared of Covid-19. He said this:
If you’re not worried, you’re not paying attention. But I’m not scared. I firmly believe that the steps that we’re taking will extend the time that it takes for the virus to make the rounds…. [this] will increase the likelihood that we have a vaccine… Everybody needs to remember: This is not a zombie apocalypse. It’s not a mass extinction event.
Boris Johnson, always full of blustery optimism, stated the other day in his press conference:
“I do think…that we can turn the tide in the next 12 weeks… And I am absolutely confident that we can send the coronavirus packing.”
Prince Harry and Meghan may not be official royals, but they sure sound like leaders with this quote attached to an instagram post:
“Now, more than ever, we need each other. We need each other for truth, for support, and to feel less alone during a time that can honestly feel quite scary. There are so many around the world who need support right now, who are working tirelessly to respond to this crisis behind the scenes, on the frontline, or at home. Our willingness, as a people, to step up in the face of what we are all experiencing with COVID-19 is awe-inspiring.”
After being diagnosed with Covid-19, Tom and Rita Hanks posted this on their Instagram feed:
“There are things we can all do to get through this by following the advice of erts and taking care of ourselves and each other, no? Remember, despite all the current events, there is no crying in baseball.”
Andrew Cuomo, Governor of New York said this of his decisions to close restaurants and other public spaces. Right or wrong, there is confidence that he’s making decisions in the best interest of the people of New York.
“I made [these decisions] because I believe they are in the best interest of the state. I know they cause disruption. I know people are upset. I know businesses will be hurt by this. I don’t feel good about that. I feel very bad about that because I know we’re going to have to then deal with that issue, as soon as this immediate public health issue is over. But my judgment is to do whatever is necessary to contain this virus. And then we will manage the consequences afterwards. The old expression is the buck stops on my desk.”
Invoking the spirit of Winston Churchill, Bill de Blasio, Mayor of New York City said:
“We’re going into a full crisis footing, this is a wartime dynamic. We have to think about helping each other in different ways and it will take the people to solve this crisis, not just the government so we have to look out for each other.”
The Italian people are in the middle of the crisis. All across Italy, there are signs “Tutto andra bene” – “everything will be all right.”
We’re not in this alone. Share helpful and inspiring words below.