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Apr. 3, 2020 | Friday
Editorials and Opinions
Letter: When the going gets tough
File photo.

Dear editor:

When the going gets tough…

For the last several weeks the news media has pummelled us with COVID-19, raising a generalized fear in people around the world. Stock markets have dropped like a stone as day traders (and other uneducated investors) have reacted in their typical “take the money and run” fashion.

Public institutions have closed their facilities and places of social gathering like bars, restaurants and theatres have been ordered shut. And, it appears that many levels of government are limping along, impaired by the lack of ability to hold meetings. And the list goes on.

While I’m not minimizing the fine work being done by our public health folks, it isn’t the Bubonic Plague we’re dealing with. Reasonable, practical methods and precautions are certainly in order but this wild-eyed fear that has emptied the grocery store shelves of toilet paper… Really?

All that said, we have to deal with where we’re at because if steps aren’t taken (and soon) the economic consequences will be devastating.

The saying “When the going gets tough, the tough get going” was derived from a statement made by Joseph Kennedy (father of JFK): “When the situation gets critical, those who aren’t weak-willed work harder and never give up.” Another iteration of this quote, and perhaps very appropriate to our current circumstances, goes: “When the times are tough, the tough see opportunities.”

So, if your customers can’t or won’t come to you, then it falls into your hands to get your products to them. Restaurants can do take-out/delivery via outfits like Uber Eats. Grocery stores and pharmacies can pick and deliver orders. Wineries can box and ship bottles of wine to their clients’ front door. We live in an electronic age in which shopping online and home delivery is more and more the norm. All of the tools are there, they just have to be assembled.

Speaking of technology, if you can’t hold in-person meetings use Zoom or Skype or similar. I and many others have used these platforms for years. You may not be able to physically shake hands (a good thing right now) however, you can do everything else.

This is particularly important for all levels of government because while they may be able to “pick up where they left off” in a month or so, the average business (and their employees) does not have the kind of financial resources that would allow them to shut down for a month while they wait for a permit (or whatever).

I shudder to think of how many people will be out of work if the government DOESN’T adopt easy workarounds like Zoom. In part, the economic well-being of our communities depend on a functioning government bureaucracy.

At this juncture it is pointless to cast blame for a lack of emergency preparedness on business or government or individuals. It is time we pull together, be creative, seize our opportunities and work together to come out of this situation a better, healthier community and country. 

We have the ability, it just takes the will to “get going.”

Brian Marshall