Mad dash or tiptoe

Published 3:10 pm Tuesday, April 28, 2020

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As we prepare to reopen American businesses and return to normal activities will it be a mad dash or a tiptoe? A mad dash would be like a pent-up herd of animals seeing the gate cracked a little and, uncontrollably, running through the hole.

When I was a boy, our family raised hogs. If you know that animal, you’ll know how they can sense the opportunity to break out and they “go for it.” Just leave a crack in the gate or fence and hogs will mad dash toward freedom.

I saw a little bit of this approach to reopening when the tightly closed state of California had some warm weather this past weekend and some of the beaches near Los Angeles were flooded with up to 40,000 men, women, and children. I don’t think their governor liked that, but just as those hogs rushed through the gate, he may not be able to do much about it.

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The president has spoken of the pent-up desires of Americans who want to get back to work and to some sort of freedom to live their lives as they want. I understand that and there is another farm saying, “That horse has left the barn.” In this instance, once the reopening has begun, there may be no controlling the businesses.

The other approach is what I might call the ‘tiptoe through the tulips” approach. Remember that song by Tiny Tim?

Tiptoeing through the tulips is my way of saying that a more incremental way, a slower way, might be preferable. That seems to be the approach that our state of Georgia is taking. Governor Kemp, along with some other governors are reopening some businesses before others. In any case, there is the understanding that it’s time to move forward with our economy. Just as we had no choice but to shutdown, we have no choice but to restart.

I am hoping that our resolve to reopen the nation to commerce will be just as diligent as our resolve was in shutting it down. We did a marvelous job at crashing our economy and I am afraid we will be suffering the consequences for many years.

At the same time, maybe the situation at hand presents us with a way to move forward in a more responsible manner.

For instance, as a nation, we ought to look at the way we do business with China. Through a serious investigation of “what happened there,” we can be honest with them as to their responsibilities to the world. If this pandemic could have been isolated in a better way and the world could have been spared so much devastation, tell the truth.

As we reopen our economy, maybe we can begin to make our own pharmaceuticals and medical supplies here in our country. Think of the new jobs that could be created.

Another thing that would be more responsible would be to look at our pre-epidemic or pandemic preparations. This will happen again and perhaps we won’t be caught flat-footed. We didn’t seem to have the stockpiles of essentials. Maybe we can correct that for the future.

The same goes for governmental “rainy-day” funds. Most governments are like most individuals in our nation. We live from paycheck to paycheck. New York City and state were already running huge deficits and, when the plague hit, there were no funds available. Is it too much to ask to be prepared, not only with stockpiles of supplies, but also rainy-day funds.

It’s been a brutal six weeks. In a way, we’ve gone from the penthouse of living high on the hog, to the outhouse of just surviving. It would be a shame if we, to borrow a phrase from the previous administration, let this crisis go to waste.