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Op-ed Placement

A Reminder That Life Is for Living

07/20/2020
Originally Published in The Washington Examiner on 7/20/20.

America was never promised to us, and we should never take it for granted. Today, many seem to forget this fact or simply take it for granted.

We've battled fearsome threats since the founding: wars, epidemics, natural disasters, and civil unrest. Now in 2020, we find ourselves up against the coronavirus, an invisible disease that inflicts suffering all too tangible. Though each crisis is born out of unique circumstances and presents its own set of challenges, a common thread runs throughout them all. In the aftermath of catastrophe, when the present seems bleak and the future even bleaker, Americans can find a way to push forward.

It is thanks to our spirit of sheer willingness to try that our nation, against all odds, still stands today. Think about it. At one point in history, our nation was divided in two. Later, we experienced unprecedented poverty and unemployment in the Great Depression. More recently, we contended with 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina.

The past could have broken us — in all honesty, it probably should have. Lesser nations might have fallen. And yet, the United States still stands today. How? The answer is simple: we stand because Americans choose to move forward. We stand today because we choose to overcome the challenges of the day.

It is not just moments of crisis that propel us forward. It is love of a good challenge, the fundamental human desire to innovate and accomplish the impossible, that pushes our nation onward. You don’t become the first country to put a man on the moon without a passion for discovery. America didn’t become home to some of the brightest minds and most groundbreaking companies in the world without prioritizing the goal of making life worth living. And you certainly don’t remain the shining city on the hill when you let fear rule and neglect centuries of progress that have led us to become the freest society in the world. Unfortunately, many people in our country today are doing just that in response to the coronavirus.

Most are coming from a good place — they do not want to endanger their own lives and the lives of loved ones. That same fear, however, is preventing America from reopening and causing the loss of livelihoods and freedoms for millions. To make matters worse, politicians have been fueling the flames of fear by insisting that businesses stay closed and people stay indoors. Reckless government spending has worsened the debt crisis and puts our nation’s economic independence at risk. If it weren’t for the brave citizens that rallied together to demand back their freedom, we might still be at the April unemployment rate of 14.7%, or perhaps even higher. Now, with the June unemployment rate at 11.1%, it seems that we are headed in the right direction. But we still have work to do, especially with states such as California and Texas rolling back their reopenings.

Stories of people putting in the work to keep America open have been flooding in from across the country. After living indoors for three months, Edward from Florida decided that enough was enough and decided to go on an All-American road trip with his family. They took precautions to stay safe by staying in sanitized hotels and ate at restaurants that were in need of business.

Ken in New York has kept his business running throughout the shutdown and even continued to hire new workers. Michael from Texas is using this time to create an online learning platform that will offer a rich learning experience to lower-income children.

In Utah, Rayetta and her family find someone more vulnerable than themselves to serve everyday. They take on yard work for others, pick up dinner for elderly neighbors, and support local businesses more than they did before the pandemic. When not serving the community, Rayetta finds time to teach her kids more about history and the Constitution.

These stories show Americans at their best: generous, innovative, inspiring, and, most notably, brave. How we conduct ourselves in a time of crisis matters. We must remember that the future is not promised; we never know for certain what will happen next. But just because we cannot predict the future does not mean that we should stop fighting for it.

At the end of the day, life is for living. We owe it to ourselves and those who came before us to put fear aside, but that can’t happen unless we all take small risks to regain our freedom and prosperity. Let’s all do our part to keep the American spirit of progress and perseverance alive.

Noah Wall (@NoahWWall) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner's Beltway Confidential blog. He is the Vice President of Advocacy at FreedomWorks.