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Americans are not tough. We are not gritty. We don’t persevere. We don’t stick to it. Oh sure, we tell ourselves, and anyone fool enough to give us a platform, that we are. We’ll spin a yarn of bullshit about some hardscrabble settlers, tenacious immigrants who were screamed at to go home, and sodbusters.

We’ll heed no one in particular to remember the Alamo, but couldn’t tell you why.

We think we’d last more than three days in Dodge City. We don’t know what we’re talking about. A posse would roll into town, and everyone with half a brain would run inside. A real American would walk further out into the street shaming his neighbors, “Don’t live in fear. Don’t let ‘the posse’ control your life. Exercise your personal freedom.” And that dumb mutherfucker would be shot.

In this metaphor, COVID-19 is the posse.

America doesn’t have the good sense to go inside away from trouble while the experts handle the situation. If we were tough, if we were gritty, if we persevered, we wouldn’t respond to coronavirus by inserting our forefingers into our ears while singing lalalalalalalalala.

We can’t even keep our masks over our noses.

The people who survived winter in sod houses on the North Dakota plains are long gone. We only have whiny dipshits left.

We lack the stamina and the grit to actually do a proper lock down in the EASY MONTHS. We couldn’t do it in May, June, July, or August when you can do shit outside (in the not-on-fire parts of the country), when you can have fun while social distancing. There is no reason to believe we’re going to suddenly develop a conscience for the inside part of the year when the weather is crap.

We do not have the intestinal fortitude to give up our communal/travel holidays.

If we truly were able to knuckle down and endure difficult times with steely gazes and heads held high, we would maintain our pods on Thanksgiving and Christmas. But we don’t, so we won’t. We will scoff at the very notion of not having large gatherings and seeing both sides of the family as they stream across state lines.

We don’t even have the backbone necessary to refer to the pandemic as the pandemic. Sniveling, we refer to “These Times.” We simper about “Everything That’s Going On” and avert our gaze lest the thing we’re really talking about, an airborne communicable disease that within the United States alone has killed the population of my hometown twice over, come sharply into view and reveal us to be chickenshits that we are.

We are not brave if we cannot name the thing that scares us.

We are not persistent if we make excuses to avoid inconvenience. We envision ourselves as tough cowboys while complaining about how hard it is to breathe in a mask. It’s fucking October; be an adult.

The countries with grit and strong wills won’t incur massive amounts of death while celebrating the birth of Christ. And no amount of self-mythologizing will protect us from who we were in March, April, May, June, July, August, September, or October.

Dennis William

Dennis is an aspiring English teacher and still listens to ska music. He lives in Portland, Oregon, which is fine, just not in the same way that DC is fine.

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