Guest opinion: Hopeful signs of fighting coronavirus are showing

Guest opinion: Hopeful signs of fighting coronavirus are showing

Fifty years ago, an exasperated high school basketball fan marched into The Missoulian newsroom and directly to my desk. He plopped down three years of sports stories carrying headlines unintentionally branding his small town’s winless team as bunches of losers.

I was the sportswriter who wrote most of those headlines using words such as hapless, throttled and lowly. While they were accurate in describing the games’ outcomes and league standings, they inadvertently missed rest of the story — something we corrected.

So, how does that apply to the coronavirus pandemic which is out of control today? Well until the COVID-19 hit America, we didn’t know the entire story and thought it won’t clobber us. Could we come together and fight this massive invasion? Could we change too?

Watching all of the political and media shenanigans, agronomy and rancor over the last few years, which was wearing thin on the American people, you had to wonder.

Until our country was suddenly blindsided by COVID-19 virus, the political and media discourse in this country was shameful. It hit rock bottom during the presidential impeachment. Something had to radically change and the coronavirus left us with no other option but to work together.

While the coronavirus scares the socks off of people around the world, there are some hopeful changes afoot.

First, before the $2 trillion federal relief legislation passed Congress, things hit rock bottom in our nation’s capital. There was widespread disagreement on just about everything. Yet, the Republican controlled U.S. Senate and the Democrat controlled House of Representatives came together to pass historic $2 trillion coronavirus relief package in record time. It cleared the Senate, 96-0, the House, 363-40.

Six weeks ago, if someone would have mentioned that Congress and President Trump would approve the largest relief bill in history, no one would believe it just as that small town basketball fan was surprised by our sports reporting alterations.

Second, unlike 9-11 when federal agencies were living in their own silos and independent, today there is better government coordination and cooperation at all levels. Watching the documentary on the Sept. 11, 2001, surprise attack and realizing that President Bush and Air Force One were stranded in midair after the attack without fighter jet protection because of confusion, it is gratifying to know governments at the federal, state and local levels are working together.

Third, business leaders from Wall Street to Main Street are working with government experts to get necessary funds and essentials — facemasks, hospital gowns and ventilators — to people treating those infected with the coronavirus. Automakers are manufacturing ventilators and the large, often maligned pharmaceutical giants, have stepped up their research to develop new medicines to fight COVID-19.

Fourth, the government funds are being appropriated to airlines, hotels, local restaurants and pubs, small business and cruise ships who have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Expanded unemployment benefits and loans and grants hopefully will stave off, bankruptcies, permanent closures and massive long-term layoffs.

Finally, the President brought the nation’s top health experts together. National, state and local government officials are implementing tough stay at home restrictions of the type we have not seen.

Federal Reserve Chief Neel Kashkari, a veteran of the 2008 Great Recession, summarized it best. A dozen years ago the federal government didn’t act quickly enough to prevent a prolonged economic down turn. Government leaders have been quicker and their responses much more encompassing and effective.

The goal is to stem the contagion, find cures, get people back to work and businesses reopened. Hopefully, Americans can make this new found political cooperation and collaboration the blueprint for the future.

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He retired as president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and now lives in Vancouver. He can be contacted at theBrunells@msn.com.

More in Opinion

Don Brunell
Guest opinion: Coronavirus spurring air cargo growth

It’s no secret that airlines and airplane manufacturers have been clobbered by… Continue reading

Crystal Linn
Aging Successfully: Gratitude, thankfulness and mental health

Have you ever stopped to consider the differences between the words gratitude… Continue reading

Sara Brabant dresses as “Weird Al” Yankovic for Halloween saying “my hair was just right.” She reminds us all to have fun as we can in these weird times. Photo courtesy of Oak Table Cafe
Reporter’s Notebook: Weird, wild and thankfulness

“Well, that’s weird!” Bill said of the funny coincidence. “No, that’s just… Continue reading

Jeremy Field, regional administrator for the U.S. Small Business Administration (courtesy photo)
Guest opinion: Shopping small for 2020 holiday season needed more than ever

It’s no secret that the Coronavirus pandemic has made a huge impact… Continue reading

Guest opinion: A climate changes-based apology

An apology to family and friends: I have been well prepared by… Continue reading

Don Brunell
Guest opinion: Military diversity’s lifeline

Diversity in the ranks has been the lifeline of our all-volunteer military,… Continue reading

USEPA Photo by Eric Vance. Public domain image
Being Frank: A time to remember

This fall marks the 50th anniversary of an event that sparked the… Continue reading

Kris Johnson is president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s chamber of commerce and manufacturers association.
Guest opinion: Washington needs manufacturing to lead the economic recovery

Kaitlyn Pype wasn’t sure what she wanted to do with her life,… Continue reading

Guest opinion: Time for our communities to come together

Time for our communities to come together To our communities: We are… Continue reading

Linda B. Myers
From the Back Nine: And the winner is …

This “opinion piece” will run the day after the election; I am… Continue reading

Bertha Cooper
Think About It: ‘Children will listen’

“Careful the things you say. Children will listen.” Some of you will… Continue reading

Letters to the Editor — Oct. 28, 2020

‘Fear-mongering’ flyers defy reality I received a baseless, fear-mongering flier by the… Continue reading