Dear Readers, Supporters, and Friends:
Like you, we are stocking up on hand sanitizer and wondering about our health and yours. Like you, we are watching anxiously as the financial markets tumble, seemingly rebound, only to tumble again. Like you, we are digging out of our inboxes, inundated with cancellations and virus warnings. COVID-19 has brought a level of uncertainty and anxiety that, while natural given the magnitude of the challenge before our nation, is exacerbated by click bait headlines and a voracious 24 hour news cycle that reports on every death and new infection from around the globe in real time.
For most of us, the events of the last two weeks are unlike anything we have experienced in our lifetime. The classification of the virus as a global pandemic and our government’s shift to the administrative equivalent of war-time footing provides an opportunity for all of us engaged in civic life to abandon the politics as usual that degrades our culture and rise to the challenge before us.
The information is pulsing a mile a minute — but how do we best ascertain truth, and how do we know what to do next?
Clearly, we at Broad + Liberty cannot cure diseases or create vaccines. We cannot nurse anyone back to health. But we can foster the kind of civic dialogue and constructive debate that gives us peace of mind that this virus cannot compromise the health of our democracy. We can offer an informed perspective on our government’s response in a way that reminds us what it means to be an American and strengthens our trust in our essential institutions.
From the beginning, too many of our leaders in Washington, and their respective media allies, were seemingly enthralled with scoring political points rather than focusing on the critical tasks at hand. Unfortunately, it’s a pattern we’ve seen emerge – and worsen – with every national crisis since at least the Vietnam War. At times, it seems that our country may be close to reaching a hyper-polarized breaking point.
On the other hand, it’s been incredible to bear witness to how our citizens manage to unite even when forced into unsettling isolation. It should be instructive to us all that the largest and most powerful government on earth inevitably turns to local leaders, first responders, non-profit organizations, and, of course, the private sector, to accelerate and refine its response to crisis. After all, when we ultimately emerge victorious over this awful malady, it will be a neighbor who volunteers for the national guard, a close friend who puts in overtime as a nurse in the local ICU, or a relative who organizes the local parish food pantry for whom we will be most thankful.
For posterity, we must tell the stories of these local heroes. In America, the phenomenon of individual sacrifice is true not just in moments like these, but always. As John Adams said, “public business must always be done by somebody. If wise men decline it, others will not; if honest men decline it, others will not.” So, we are recommitting to our original idea, inspired by the values and principles that guided the founders when they began the great American Experiment at Sixth and Chestnut.
In the days and weeks ahead, we will be praying for a quick resolution to the coronavirus, prudence and focus from our political leaders and for our economy, and a path forward that we will help blaze from the cradle of liberty in Philadelphia to the nation as a whole.
Wishing you and yours the best as we, as a nation, approach whatever comes next courageously and together.
–The Editors at Broad + Liberty