By Royal Alexander
This is a difficult and disorienting time in Louisiana and in America. Millions are suffering. The confinement and inactivity feel strange and unnatural. I have reflected the last few days on other difficult times in our nation’s history. As we know, the foundation of America is our U.S Constitution. And, as we also know, the Declaration of Independence has always been considered the “promise” of America while the Constitution has always been viewed as the “fulfillment” of the promise. Do you know what these two sacred founding documents really reflect? The American Spirit. It is our core, our backbone. Right now, we face numerous challenges as a result of this virus. They include shortages of, or deficiencies regarding, medicine and science—and the timely availability of a vaccine; economic damage being done to our economy that, prior to this, had been experiencing record growth and strength; the very real infringements on our constitutional rights that are being justified on the basis of public health—including the national immobilization of healthy people, mandated wearing of masks, social distancing, home confinement, lack of freedom of association and mobility, traditional free exercise of religion, state-mandated limitation of economic activity, perhaps even suspicion of our neighbors because of the virus; And on and on.
You know what is going to pull us through all of this? The same immutable characteristic that always has: the American Spirit. It is truly amazing to consider what our country, over 243 years, has endured. A few of these examples include the American Revolution that, based upon military strength and economic support, we never should have been able to win. We simply wanted the victory more, and were more ferocious and brave than the British, and that nation underestimated our resolve and the blessings of God to whom we frequently turned to save and guide us; the very writing of, and then ratification of, our U.S. Constitution was a miracle. It overcame many obstacles on its, at times, meandering path to become our nation’s governing document; the Civil War might well have destroyed most nations but we persevered; the Great Depression; WWII, in particular, when not only did America, supporting unmatched British courage, defeated the Nazi Menace and then established America as the principal economic and military power in the world; our divided country during Vietnam; the strife, turmoil and division of the 1960’s; the very real and perilous nuclear threat during the Cuban Missile Crisis; the grueling longevity of the Cold War when American economic and military strength finally broke the Soviet Union and its communist regime; the sadness and tragedy of 9/11; and the financial breakdown of 2008.
We have been through so much. The American Spirit, this belief in what has been called the “idea of America,” has always been what steeled us through very difficult times. The intrinsic belief that, if we could just hold on and make it through, that we would rebound because we are Americans, and this is America. The belief that person-to-person, neighborhood-to-neighborhood, we would be there for each other. I am certain that we will, likewise, rise above this current hardship. It is truly our DNA. It’s who we are. We persevere. Let’s keep praying, be honorable citizens, work together and lift each other up. We WILL rebound not only because we are resilient, but because we are blessed to live in the greatest place on earth to rebound!