A DIFFERENT WAR

More Americans have died from Covid-19 in nine months than in combat over four years in World War II. The virus death toll exceeds 292,000, compared with 291,557 American World War II battle deaths. (New York Times- December 12, 2020).

Yuval Harari in HOMO DEUS contends that mankind will conquer all foes except war, famine and disease. Then those will be eradicated. Pre-election my contention was we must deal with three immediate dangers : Covid, Trump and racism. The deficit, as always, delayed. True climate change, national division, among others loom ominously.

There is hope. Donald is in the rear view mirror. The vaccine was approved last night. Biden has already appointed more good people than the other bunch.

THE CITIZENS OF LONDON by Lynne Olson features the influence Gilbert Winant had in winning WW11. I was unaware of this outstanding man and his quiet leadership. One point in the book features a speech by Winant to British miners. About to strike, Winant called for their solidarity in a speech, copied in large part later. What struck me was that as sure as we were at war in 1943, we are at war today. We face an entirely different foe. Not a country, religion, or ideology or political party, but a virus. My belief is that the same unity called for by Winant is now necessary to defeat the microbes, bigots, ignorance, currently and in the future.

Hear what Winant said:

He “…equated the battle against fascism with the fight for social democracy. The miners and other workers, he said, were on the front lines just as much as soldiers in the field, with the same responsibility to continue the fight. “You who suffered so deeply in the long Depression years know we must move on a great social offensive if we are to win the war completely. It is not a short-term military job. We must solemnly resolve that in our future order we will not tolerate the economic evils which breed poverty and war.” Winant added: “this is not something that we shelve for the duration. It is part of the war.”

“What we want is not complicated,” the ambassador declared. “We have enough technical knowledge and organizing ability….We have enough courage. We must put it to use. When the war is done, the drive for tanks must become a drive for houses. The drive for food to prevent the enemy from starving us must become a drive for food to satisfy the needs of all people in all countries. The drive for manpower in war must become a drive for employment to make freedom from want a living reality….Just as the peoples of democracy are united in a common objective today, so we are committed to a common objective tomorrow. We are committed to the establishment of the people’s democracy.”

“We must always remember,” he said, “that is the things of the spirit that in the end prevail. That caring counts. That where there is no vision, people perish. That hope and faith count, and that without charity there can be nothing good. That by daring to live dangerously, we are learning to live generously. And that by believing in the inherent goodness of man, we may meet the call of your great Prime Minister and ‘stride forward into the unknown with growing confidence.’ “

John Gilbert Winant American Ambassador to Britain during WW11

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