America the Beautiful: Shuttered & Shackled, With Freedom Coming Soon

AMERICA CLOSED by Bill Day, Tallahassee, FL

April 14th, 2020

By: Sarah McCormick

The closing of America, presumably the richest and most vivacious country in the world, has been a truly sobering experience for the majority of Americans. The mere thought of nearly all American states being ground to a screeching halt has pushed many Americans to the point of depression. It’s left citizens with questions and confusion, searching for a light to be found at the end of the tunnel. As things currently stand, every state in the US has been declared a disaster by President Donald Trump.

If we’re honest, none of us really ever thought this circumstance was possible. This was the stuff you would only see in movies. Until COVID-19, America was a vibrant, bustling expanse filled with flourishing businesses, ripe with promise and plenty of opportunities. Then, one day, in what seemed like the blink of an eye, everything changed. Our livelihood was diminished by leaps and bounds. Companies were forced to shut their doors, laying off hardworking employees, and watching their lives’ work disappear down a dark, damp drain with no hope of reconciliation in any regard.

Until SBA loans were introduced or even discussed, many small businesses were left wondering how they would be able to keep the lights on and keep their hardworking employees on board. Even now, in the waiting for these loans to be disbursed, many companies are still holding on by a thread, grasping to the hope that maybe tomorrow, things will be better.

This virus has quite honestly changed every facet of day to day life. From the way we shop in the grocery store to the way we clean our homes, and even in the details of how we wash our hands, everything looks different for us as a country right now. The schools look different for children across the nation, as parents are forced to become home educators and still find a way to squeeze in working from home if they’re lucky to do so. People are learning how to save money again. People are learning how to spend more family time with one another. And above all, people are appreciating the little things in the day to day hustle.

When President Trump declared a public health emergency on January 31st and implemented travel restrictions from China, we began to see the precursor of what no doubt would be a long, tedious trajectory ahead. As we in America watched how things were unfolding day by day in China, we were forced to roll with the punches and trust those in authority in our states and Government. The most authoritative decisions belonged to none other than President Trump, who acted quickly and efficiently in closing our borders to incoming travel from what would eventually become hotspots.

Some would argue that he didn’t close the borders quickly enough – but, let’s not forget that he tried. Facing backlash from Nancy Pelosi and Friends, being called ‘xenophobic’ by Democratic frontrunner Joe Biden, and called a ‘racist’ by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, he faced stressors from all angles. He did what was right, and in doing so, saved countless lives.

President Trump has been adamant about his stance on wanting to reopen the economy and the country as a whole, speaking about how anxious most people are to get back to work, and voicing his opinion on how ‘ we cannot allow the cure to be worse than the problem itself.’ This thought process seems to align with the majority of Americans who, as shown in various polls across Twitter, are truly anxious to get back to work.

Reasons as to why the country should be reopened sooner rather than later are many. For instance, job creation and reinstatement is something that is in the forefront of anyone’s mind who’s experienced job loss, as well as for those who have had to lay off employees. Too many Americans – millions, in fact – are finding themselves on government assistance in the way of food stamps and unemployment benefits. The stress that’s associated with having to file for one or the other or both could be alleviated if people were able to get back to work.

America has never experienced a shut down in terms of international travel quite the same way that we have during this pandemic. If the country were to re-open and become stabilized, international travel would be something that would obviously be worked back into American culture and discussed – in as safe and effective a manner as possible.

Imagine the day where churches will be able to reopen their doors to their parishioners. Easter of 2020 marked a day like none other in American history, where millions of Christians were unable to attend Easter Services for what is one of the Holiest days in the Christian religion. Although most churches have been able to utilize technology to stream church services to their congregation, the anticipation is mounting for those who are vying for the chance to be immersed in the in-person experience once again.

The loneliness Americans are currently facing while being isolated during these state-mandated stay-at-home orders would be alleviated when the country is able to be reopened. Friends will be able to meet for coffee and lunch, families will be able to visit one another, and the elderly won’t feel so isolated and alone once visitors are able to spend some time.

President Trump has mentioned many times how he believes our country will become stronger than ever before, including financially, once this virus has passed. We have to believe that to be true. Our nation was number one in the world on many fronts. Our businesses were booming. It was like nothing the world had ever seen before. Faith remains that we will get that back and that we will see many wonderful, amazing things happen that for many in the current circumstances may seem like a hopeless pipe dream.

As for whether or not the country is ready to be reopened at this present moment in time is a matter of personal opinion based upon numerous factors. Within the next month and a half, it would seem that the peak of this virus would have come and gone, and anyone who is sick now would be on the mend or completely well by that point. It would appear that a month and a half would more than likely be all we would need for things to calm down, and reintroducing a sense of normalcy to the parts of the country less affected would be the best way to begin.

Should portions of the country re-open at that time, which are still majorly affected? Probably not. But as each state passes a certain threshold, there should be a point where we are confident in the decision to say enough is enough, and we need to get back to work. We all want our normal lives back.

As America moves through this strange and vastly different moment in time, it is our prayer that we will all remain united as there is strength in numbers. We, as Americans, will emerge on the other side of this fight with a renewed sense of country, with a genuine sense of community and a helping hand extended to all fellow Americans in the fight to regain our stance as the greatest Nation in the world. As one nation, under God, we will prevail.

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