President Trump is right — Now’s the time for ‘all hands on deck’
In nautical terms, “all hands on deck” means that everyone on board — from the cooks in the mess to the mechanics in the engine room — pulls together to stave off a natural or manmade emergency.
Today, a similar call has gone out across America, asking all to put aside personal, partisan and parochial interests to tackle a pandemic that doesn’t discriminate among those whose health it eliminates.
More than 80 years ago, on the beaches of Normandy, our nation experienced its “finest hour.” D-Day was the moment when we pulled together, and pulled out all the stops, fashioning a brand of unity America had never before seen, forged or felt.
Now we have a chance to show the “greatest generation” that younger generations are also able and willing to step up to save the world. During the Big War, the enemy was visible and vicious. Today it is invisible and wholly viral, and it’s time we unified the “freedom fighters” who would stand in its path.
Last week’s Rose Garden press conference did just that, as the president put the first wave of “America’s Team” on the field — leaders from the private sector who proclaimed, to a person (and to a corporation) that they are in, all in, whatever it takes. Each of these leaders, in testimonials delivered with unwavering resolve and patriotism, lifted spirits across the land (and stocks across the Big Board). Collectively, they effused determination and derring-do, that unique combination of attitude and skill that we as Americans use to overcome any problem that challenges us or any crisis that threatens us.
From the indomitable Dr. Anthony Fauci — who never met a disease he couldn’t fight — to the daily injections of assurance we’ve received from Drs. Deborah Birx and Stephen Hahn (FDA), it feels like we are taking on the worst armed with our very best.
Now we need everyone to jump on board — every governor, mayor, senator, Member of Congress, officeholders from the past, political contenders in the present.
There are some encouraging signs.
The House and Senate are moving with lightning speed to vote in, and deliver out, badly needed financial help for businesses big and small and for people whose jobs have been quarantined by COVID-19. Instead of carping and criticizing, Republicans and Democrats are rapidly communing and cooperating.
The same can be said of governors, like California’s Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom. He may be suing the feds over the issue of state water rights, but Newsom’s all-in to take on and take out the pandemic.
Here are two more potential COVID-busters.
First, I’d love to see every living President — Carter, Clinton, Bush, Obama — join with the current president to say that when it comes to fighting this virus, there isn’t an inch of separation between us. This tour de force would be a show of force, a decree that noblesse oblige — that tradition of acting nobly and generously — is alive and well in 2020 America.
Second, Joe Biden — the presumptive Democrat nominee who’s been floating his own coronavirus plan criticizing the administration’s — should show similar class and selflessness. In words his political advisors might spurn but all America would cheer, I’d like to hear Biden say to the president, “Look, you and I can air out our differences, and debate the other issues of the day, once we’ve put COVID-19 behind us. Until we do, Mr. President, I’m all in. How can I help?”
In other words, how about a little less Howard Dean and a little more JFK? You know the words: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
During World War II, General Motors, Ford, and others mass-produced tanks, guns, and airplanes to fuel the Allied victory over tyranny.
During the past week, we heard American companies are now retooling their factories to manufacture badly-needed medical supplies from masks to ventilators.
They’ve heard the call, and so have we.
For America, it’s “all hands on deck.”
Adam Goodman is a national Republican media strategist who has advised Rudy Giuliani, John McCain and Jeb Bush. He is the first Edward R. Murrow Senior Fellow at Tufts University’s Fletcher School. Follow him on Twitter @adamgoodman3
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