Los Angeles Times Editorial: United We Stand; Divided We Fall — to the Coronavirus

This morning the Los Angeles Times had a solid editorial about the coronavirus and coming together. United we stand, or divided we fall. This blog would ask everyone who reads this post to wear your mask when out in public. We are responsible to each other and above that to our country. 

“Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.”

John F. Kennedy

COVID-19 virus

This editorial in this morning’s Los Angeles Times is solid and too good to ignore. Scanning the press the past couple of days leaves me to ask the question what happened to the spirit that led people to sacrifice and support the greater good? What happened to that American spirit that allowed us all to come together and win World War II? I keep hearing of people I know becoming infected with the coronavirus and its troubling. This is a health issue nothing more. We’re the only western country that has not been able to adequately respond to the COVID-19 virus.

We stand with Hugo’s Tacos.

On Sunday, the Los Angeles business took the extreme measure of temporarily closing its two locations, in Studio City and Atwater Village, to give employees “a break” from verbal and physical abuse by customers outraged that employees were enforcing the law requiring face coverings.

During the closure, the staff will strategize ways to reopen in a way that complies with rules to limit spread of COVID-19 as well as insulates employees from having to endure the misplaced hostility of defiant patrons.

It was the responsible, if economically difficult, choice but it’s a situation that no business should be forced into. People who don’t like the laws made by county and state officials to control spread of infection should not take it out on workers just trying to earn a living.

Sadly, this is no isolated incident. Even as coronavirus cases are rebounding in many U.S. states, this same conflict is playing out in grocery stores, in restaurants, on busy streets and in other public places as people confronted for violating rules regarding wearing face masks or social distancing protocols lash out with unusual vitriol.

A store owner in rural California summed up the sentiment behind this defiance of scientifically sound measures and disregard for civic responsibility: “The deal is, you have no right to tell me I have to wear a mask. I’m an American. … I refuse to bow to anybody.”

He’s wrong about that. Authorities do have the right, not to mention the responsibility, to require that Americans refrain from actions that endanger the lives of others. Some people may enjoy driving while drunk, and feel it is their God-given right to do so, but because so many drunk drivers have caused injury and death to others it is not permitted.

But more importantly, he is wrong about refusing to bow down to others. That’s a crude way to put it, but being an American is not an excuse. It is the reason he should observe the laws and help others. That’s just part of the deal of living in a modern civil society.

If the U.S. ever needed a reminder of the importance of the social contract that binds us to one other, it is now, as a new virus is raging through the land and civil discourse is so raw and ugly that there is open defiance of even the most simple protective measures. How hard is it to wear a face covering while ordering tacos, especially if it might save the life of a neighbor?

America’s deep-seated spirit of rugged individualism seems to have metastasized into a cultural cancer that promotes distrust of any type of authority and disdain for fellow humans. And it may well doom the U.S. to a longer, deadlier and more economically destructive outbreak than we’ve already endured. There are signs of that already as several governors have stated backtracking on reopening plans as infection rates rise.

The Republican governors of Texas and Florida, who resisted shutting down businesses in the early days of the pandemicclosed bars and other businesses last week after record rates of new coronavirus cases. In California, one of the states where COVID-19 cases are spiking, Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, ordered bars closed in seven counties including Los Angeles. If things get worse, more counties and more types of businesses might be shut down. That’s not just harmful for the people who get sick; it harms the economic stability of communities and, by extension, the entire nation.

In his inaugural address in 1961, President John F. Kennedy issued a call to public service and sacrifice. “My fellow Americans: Ask not what your country can do for you — ask what you can do for your country.” That message of putting the public good ahead of one’s own personal desires has never resonated more strongly.

And as we head into a holiday weekend when people may be tempted to proclaim their individual freedom to throw off the uncomfortable mask and revel in a crowd of strangers, we hope they will imagine what Kennedy, or someone of equal stature, might have said if he were president today: United we can stand against the virus. Divided we all fall.


10 thoughts on “Los Angeles Times Editorial: United We Stand; Divided We Fall — to the Coronavirus

  1. I disagree with two parts of this post:

    United we stand, or divided we fall.

    What does “we fall” mean? The coronavirus cannot cause us to fall as a country. Even if everyone gets it, not very many of us will die. It would be a tragedy, but we would not fall. Realistically, nowhere near that many Americans will die from coronavirus. The first peak is past, and now the people getting sick are the younger, healthier people so the death rate will probably not reach its previous daily rate.

    We’re the only western country that has not been able to adequately respond to the COVID-19 virus.

    Why? The national strategy of “flatten the curve” has succeeded. Hospitals were not overwhelmed and temporary hospitals have been dismantled. A plethora of treatments and vaccines are in development or being actively deployed. What do you think we should have done differently? What would have been an adequate response to the virus?


  2. Those in FEAR of dying, stay home. Let the BRAVE people have their freedom to TAKE A CHANCE.

    We used to call them, GUINEA PIGS, or, in the days of old, the food and wine taster for royalty. In scientific terms, MICE.

    So who do we REALLY have violating? TEENAGE KIDS who are naturally rebellious at that age, to include many in the BML/ANTIFA/MARXIST movement, although some wear masks, but it is mostly to hide identity, more than being safe from a virus. And, those who frequent BARS.

    How many Christians are in the above categories? I’d say…NONE. What say you, David?

    Ed Chapman


      • Wondering,

        And you have NEVER drove drunk a day in your life? Or is it, you’ve never been drunk a day in your life?

        So let me change your scenario a bit! RUN A RED LIGHT! Who hasn’t done that? Jaywalk, who hasn’t done that?

        Is driving drunk against the law? Was that law LEGISLATED? Is there a constitutional right to drive drunk?

        What does our 1st Amendment to the Constitution state? THAT is what is at issue.

        And as we have noted, PROTESTS are OK, in a pandemic, but God forbid if a Christian attends church in a pandemic.

        The protesters IGNORNED all STATE AND LOCAL “recommendations” (remember, CDC states RECOMMENDED, NOT REQUIRED).

        What has been LEGILSLATED here?

        Antifa/BLM Protesting OK

        Christians: DON’T YOU DARE, OR ELSE!

        Come on man! I think you need to REDIRECT your anger at those who just don’t give a BLEEP, aka PROTESTERS, especially the violent ones. Do you think that they care about you?


      • Ed what I love about your comments is that you continually and frequently validate my points. I should do a post one can and then say “To make my point I present ChapmanED for exhibit A”

        And no I have never driven drunk. I like a good beer but I refuse to break the law like that.


      • So you are admitting that the law to wear a mask was LEGISLATED? Are you also going to admit that the CDC is NOT Congress? What is the CDC requirements? Isn’t it recommended, not required?

        Are you AGREEING with the STATE GOVERNMENT officials that protesting is EXEMPT from all state governors COMMANDMENTS? Because those governors sure are, but they WON’T allow Christians to go to church. That is hypocrisy at its finest.

        If your EXIBIT “A” is the hypocrisy of STATE GOVERNORS, then we are both in sync. But you are not advocating that at all. All we gotta do is say that we are PROTESTING, and we are off the hook! Right?



      • Ed, if you think people should go to church during a pandemic part of me would encourage that. Not on;y wold it validate Charles Darwin but some of these problems would just go away. The problem is that its the other people who they will come in contact with. I have it on my pile to write on by Oregon’s COVID-19 outbreak is tied back to an evangelical church. When your neighbors are in the ICU I want you to remember what Jesus said about loving your neighbor. Basically you are revealing what evangelicals are frauds.


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