After the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by the Empire of Japan there were two immediate responses. One was that a lot of people were furious that the United States had been caught by surprise. There was a lot of finger pointing, at Admiral Kimmel and General Short. There was also finger pointing at the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. But there was even more anger at Japan. There was also a recognition that the nation only had one president and we needed to unite behind him to fight the greater enemy, the Empire of Japan. The finger point was postponed, and the nation unified behind our president.
Later, when the war was won, there were further investigations with the typical finger pointing. Ultimately, nothing much changed. While there were lessons to be learned from the mistakes that allowed Japan to catch us by surprise, it was far more important to move on from this disaster and come together as a country. Winning the war was far more important than pinning the blame.
The country has already figured that out and is unifying behind the leadership of Donald Trump. It is no accident that there is incredible coordination and joint effort between the Federal, State and Local Governments and between the government at all levels and the private sector. Even Democrats took a break from resisting this president and are working with him to be part of the solution to this very serious situation.
We are in a war with the coronavirus. Any historian will warn us about the fog of war. When you are fighting this kind of battle, you don’t have the luxury of hindsight. You must make the best decisions you can, based on the information you have available. Indecision is the worst decision of all. If you watch the reports from Europe, they are paying a terrible price for not getting ahead of this.
This is a time when we have no choice but to ask our leaders to do their job and to let them do their job. Many of us believe that Gavin Newsom is a horrible Governor. But he is showing real leadership on this and we need to respect that. He will make some wise decisions and he will make some dumb decisions. But he has the power to do what is necessary and we should focus more on praying that God grants him wisdom than mindless criticism. The same is true for Donald Trump. He is the president and he is also showing leadership. Those who oppose him politically should treat him the say way Republicans should treat Gavin Newsom.
My wife and I watched a very interesting documentary on the 1906 earthquake. The Mayor of San Francisco was obviously corrupt. Following the earthquake, he made some very poor decisions. But when necessary he made the critical decision that probably saved the city. He authorized the destruction of homes and businesses along Van Ness Avenue which resulted in a fire break saved the rest of the city. For a short, and I do mean short, period Mayor Schmitz and his opponents worked together to save the city. But in November 1906 he returned home from Europe to learn he was being indicted. Ultimately, he was indicted on 27 counts of graft and bribery, convicted and given the maximum penalty. His conviction was later overturned by the Appellate Court and later the California Supreme Court.
Schmitz later ran for Mayor again, twice, and was defeated. He was elected to the Board of Supervisors again and served on that board until 1925.
One this pandemic is under control; Democrats will turn on a dime and accuse Donald Trump of everything but treason. We can and should expect that. But History will judge Donald Trump soon enough. As for now, we better all hope and pray he is up to the challenge. In my opinion the true test of leadership is to get people to work together as a team for the greater good. Trump seems to be doing a remarkable job of doing exactly that. It is quite possible that because of the action taken by so many people working together for a change we just may get through this horrific situation in far better shape than most countries. One thing is already certain. We live in a very different world than anyone could have imagined early last week. This will change this nation and it will change us. Hopefully a lot of people will learn from this important reminder of what is and what is not actually important. One thing is certain, we already know the importance of toilet paper. That, of course, will change when people get their sh*t together.
We are a different nation with different values today than as recently as last week.