My heartfelt wish for all Americans post-election is hope.

Hope is the day when we can share dinners with our extended family, play cards, and tell family stories.

It is a day when we can visit grandparents in the nursing facility without fear of killing them.

It is catching a film with our best friend.

It is breaking bread at our favorite restaurant.

It is going to the ballgame with our sons and daughters or watching them play soccer along with the parents of other teammates.

It is giving our sons and daughters the opportunity to learn from teachers in a classroom, reading great books, doing challenging math problems, and giggling with their classmates.

It is taking a vacation on a crowded beach or bustling city.

It is taking a walk without crossing the street to avoid human contact.

It is singing in a choir.

It is being able to see our smiles again.

A hug would be nice.

Hope is having a vision and a plan for how to deal with the worst world health crisis in one hundred years that has hit our country, our families, our friends, our colleagues harder than anywhere else.

A national plan for fighting Covid-19 isn’t about depriving us of individual liberty. It is about us coming together as a nation as we did in World War II to face down a common enemy. This time the enemy isn’t fascism but a lethal virus that has killed one quarter million Americans and will kill twice that unless we come together to mitigate its deadly force.

The national strategy is pretty simple. Wear a mask. Avoid crowds. Avoid indoor spaces. Get tested if you feel symptoms or have come into contact with someone whose been infected. Trace the contacts of those who have been infected. Treat the ill.

Treatment is getting better the more doctors know about the disease, but it is still deadly and cannot be dismissed. Deaths are rising as winter approaches. The most populous states have the highest number infected and dead; the less populous states in the South and northern Midwest have the highest mortality per capita.

Ultimately, a vaccine may reduce the deadliness of the disease to something manageable. When doctors confirm a vaccine is viable, we should all line up to take it. We should follow the science, not the tweets.

We all worry about the impact of Covid-19 on the economy and our own security. This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue; it affects us all. What will happen to our jobs? Can we make rent? Can we afford food? Can we afford our prescriptions? Our government must step in and do more to provide the bridge between now and recovery. That is why we pay taxes — so that we can respond as one nation to help all. The relentless tax cuts for billionaires have left us weak. Every household knows to plan for a rainy day; good government does the same.

Other countries have paid a weekly or monthly salary to workers displaced. We should do the same, not a measly one-time $1,200 check. An economic recovery bill should focus on small businesses, the core of our economy, 20% of which have gone bankrupt this year. The bill should not focus on rich individuals or corporations that have a better ability to weather this storm.

I don’t know about you, but every time I cough or have the sniffles, there is also a feeling of dread. Is it an allergy or impending death? I want to have confidence in leaders around the world that we can contain this virus and reverse its course tearing through our nations. I want hope. The American dream has always been driven by hope, striving to become a more perfect union, a dream that our kids and grandkids will inherit a better world. Let’s come together to fight this common enemy.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

C. Dixon Osburn is a noted advocate for domestic and international human rights and security.

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