The American spirit

Published 3:05 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2020

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One of the “fifty-cent” words that is used to describe the American spirit is indomitable. That means unbeatable. The American spirit is being tested these days as never before and it remains to be seen as to whether it can rise above this unprecedented crisis in which we find ourselves.

There are plenty of examples of our country’s spirit in the actions of many groups of people and professions. I usually stay away from comparisons of any crisis being like a war.

For instance, can we compare the truly courageous efforts of our medical professionals these days with the young soldiers who landed at Normandy? It’s like that saying of comparing apples and oranges. Both are courageous and, at the same time, different.

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Both, however, embody the American spirit. Those medical professionals are putting on the appropriate gear and doing battle just as the military troops put on their gear and did battle. And there may have been some complaining with both groups, but the American spirit led both groups to fight their respective enemies in heroic ways.

Sometimes I think we call too many people “heroes’ these days, but heroism is certainly a part of the American spirit and we’re seeing plenty of heroism today.

Millions of Americans have put their noses to the grindstone and continued to work. The businesses that are necessary and remain open need their employees. The stress of working long and arduous hours in grocery stores, pharmacies, the trucking industry, law enforcement, agricultural, chicken and other meatpacking plants, and other businesses is real. Yet, those employees, for the most part, have performed admirably.

The American spirit lives in people who “keep on keeping on.”

Remarkable patience and obedience have been a part of millions of Americans. We are not a lazy nation. Yet, our leaders asked us to stop work and separate ourselves from each other for a time. We were told that such action was necessary to defeat this invisible enemy and that request from our leaders has taken much sacrifice and maybe even changed us some. 

I don’t know of many people who have enjoyed this “social distancing” thing. Americans are hand-shakers and huggers. We love to be social and to stop all of that did not come easy. We are accustomed to eating out, to supporting our friends in times of need, to worshipping in our churches.

The way we have responded to our leaders’ requests has been pretty solid. We’ve done as we have been asked and we can only hope that our actions have worked.

But there is something else about the American spirit. It’s a fighting spirit and it is beginning to bow its back. We’re not the sort of people to take something lying down. You can’t ask a people to just stop living and not expect some sort of fight. That, too, is a part of the American spirit. To fight back!

That’s what we see when our leaders just think they can tell us to do anything they say. Michiganders and Ohioans and Georgians and people all over this great nation aren’t being rebellious when they say, “I’m ready to go back to work!”

They, too, deserve to be heard and respected. They are not morons or stupid. They are fighters and you can’t keep the good people of our nation down forever. King George III found that out at the beginning of the American experiment and so did Adolph Hitler in WW II.

We are going to find out very soon just how “alive” the American spirit is. It has been a triumphant spirit. I just hope it’s still there!