My electrician and I figured it out in twenty minutes

Posted: March 23, 2020 in Uncategorized

My hard-working electrician dropped by today to work on an outside project. Mindful of our distance, we chatted each other up, especially as regards the pandemic and who we know that has been affected. He has family in the health care sector working directly with patients. They are lacking the most basic resources for handling the demands of the Coronavirus. At the moment, his family who are medical personnel are being rationed one protective mask a day. Respirators are far and few between. At the moment, tests are unavailable..

We have no idea what the political leanings of the other is and it didn’t seem to matter. Two guys in the driveway talked about the future and what we could learn from all this. He smiled and said,

“People are funny, they usually don’t change unless they have to. Well, now we have to.”

Nothing truer could have been said. And in the span of twenty minutes we talked about what seemed to be obvious. The summary is something like this:

Pandemics are threats that equal and probably exceed national military threats. The only way to deal with them in the future is preparedness. It’s not acceptable to wait for the worst to come and then scramble to pull together a response. If our military preparedness at home and abroad includes personnel, weaponry, bases, ships, planes, and the intelligence and command apparatus to coordinate it all, why in the world would we not have a standing system of equal power to address pandemics?

We need a national command center vested with pandemic vigilance. This command center would not only be connected to a network of response centers across the nation, but also with international partners. Viruses are no respecters of national borders. An effective response must be an international one – with monitoring and collaboration. The US could lead the way by forming a kind of NATO for pandemics in our own time.

It needs to be enacted and funded by Congress so that it can’t be neglected, ignored or disbanded by any future administration.

It needs to be lodged in a reasonable organizational home. The Pentagon comes to mind. In relation to national health services. Related to national homeland security and intelligence services.

In the same way that the National Guard is on standby, distributed through all our states, ready to activate and deploy when needed, so a Pandemic Guard or Reserve must be ready, equipped and empowered to respond in a moment’s notice. We need relevant and current stockpiles of needed supplies throughout the country. They can deploy military-type portable hospitals when necessary.

There is no reason that a country of our capacity cannot do this. And though one never defeats a pandemic virus like a conventional enemy, we can protect ourselves in meaningful and quick ways, minimizing the damage and returning to ongoing life in reasonably quick ways.

This is one of those legitimate and necessary functions of a government. We can do it and in a bi-partisan way. And strangely enough, an initiative like this might be the kind of unifying thing that pulls nations together in common cause, a mutually beneficial international thrust that is more worthy of our time, personnel and resources than wasting those same things making war on one another.

At least, that’s what my electrician and I think.


  1. Laura says:

    Great logic! Send the proposal to one of our Senate or House Representatives!

  2. Audrey Spieler says:

    It is ironic and laughable that we have spent trillions on war machines and a miniature virus can destroy our economy, our culture, our way of life, and our security. Hear ye… O great leaders of the world.

  3. Claudia Ketterlin says:

    Perceptive thoughts! Wish they could be implemented!

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