The Power of Resilience or the Resilience of the Powerful?

By  Neera Kuckreja Sohoni

The current year is about to end, but not our misery. Despite all the science and material resources behind us, we stand helpless in the face of a disease whose variants keep changing, with no precise understanding of which variant is done with, which continues, and which are yet to come.

Like the monstrous Hydra of Greek mythology, the Corona virus continues to haunt us with multiple heads, one of which – as in case of the Hydra snake – is slated to remain indestructible.

Since it first surfaced in December 2019 in Wuhan province in China, and appeared in America in January 2020, Covid (in its long form known as the severe acute respiratory syndrome SARS coronavirus2) has tested our nerves for what feels like eternity.

Precautionary measures of masking and social distancing have continued to isolate us from each other while the vaccine divide has split America into two nations – of the ‘Vaxed’ and the ‘Non-Vaxed”. Who would have dreamt that a benign and intended to be beneficial remedy would become a source of heated debate, vicious name-calling, public shaming, and communal aggression?

Elected leaders at federal, state, and municipal levels have led the pro-vaccine charge with punitive ordinances that forbid unvaccinated employees from coming to office to work, and deny the unvaccinated public the right to access dining, drinking, exercising, and other amenities. Even children in some jurisdictions are unable to go to school or participate in afterschool activities in the ultra-stringent vaccination-requiring settings such as New York city.

The psychological impact of exclusion has brought many to the brink of mental breakdown jacking up suicide rates; economic hardship from compulsory shutdowns has led businesses to close temporarily or forever; the consequent loss of jobs and income has caused law and order to breakdown – with smash and grab crowd robbing and individual looting, car thefts, arson, battery, and other felonies on the rise.

Most important and damaging is the impact of firing unvaccinated workers on vital public services including healthcare, surface, marine, and air transportation, and other logistical lifelines critical to keep our economy and citizenry breathing.

The closure of schools and the inefficient switchover to digital teaching and learning has disastrously slowed down or even reversed learning ability and standards of school children. High-school kids have paid an equally heavy price by resorting to drugs and other lethal addictions. These are poor substitutes and antidotes to mandatory isolation of teenagers which denies them the life support drawn from daily interface with peers, teachers, sports coaches, counselors and others.

With the third or fourth variant of Covid in place, an already struggling citizenry has been saddled with continued requirements of masking and distancing. But now there is the added burden from making vaccination mandatory. Already materially, physically and psychologically stressed employees are being threatened with job losses, punitive fines, and social interaction restraints.

Fiscally overstretched employers likewise are threatened under President Biden’s excessively demanding regime to vaccinate every employee or pay up heavy fines per unvaccinated employee. Since the mandate applies to enterprises with 100 or more employees, its outcome is easy to predict viz, employers will fire some workers to keep their number under 100.

Our enlightened modern age – given high levels of literacy and fastest modes of information dissemination – was never expected to confront such a massive challenge to being vaccinated. Nor did scientists ever find themselves in the vulnerable position of being considered fallible. Since Galileo’s discovery of earth orbiting the sun rather than the other way around, science has not faced such a vociferous challenge as it does today. Galileo was ordered to turn himself in to the Holy Office to begin trial for his heretical views, and custom demanded that the accused be imprisoned and secluded during the trial. Today’s politicians and scientists have taken a stance similar to the Catholic Church – questioning the skeptics’ views, crushing their lives, and taking away the rights and liberties of the unvaccinated. Capturing this abject surrender of the individual to the state is the slogan that says it best, “Get vaxxed or Axed”.

Appearing draconian to the unvaxed but entirely reasonable to the vaxxed population, Covid and the regulatory regime it has spawned has made resilience a most desired quality. Today, it is no longer enough for us to merely face the pandemic but we need additionally to prep ourselves to endure the expanding regulatory power of the state and the aggressive tactics of the cancel culture.

We must also learn to deal with their chronic amnesia. When Biden, Democrats, and the partisan media complain of politicizing vaccines, they are in denial of the exact same politicization Biden and Kamala Harris indulged in when they publicly claimed being suspicious of any vaccine with which then President Trump was connected.

On resilience, if anyone takes the lead, it is the political class. Politicians, across the board, have matchless ambition and ability to survive. Unless physically dead, in a political sense, they never die. But like the ‘Ever ready’ bunny and battery, they are everlasting. Lust for and addiction to power keeps them going through any and all ups and downs, humiliating or elevating electoral outcomes.

None demonstrates the compulsive desire to last out than Hillary Clinton.

Recently, a video showing her teaching a Master Class surfaced. Master Classes are high-cost digital instructional classes in which you pay exorbitantly to hear top world leaders and luminaries explain how and why they tick, enabling you to learn from their example.

Hillary was assigned resilience as her topic. Contrary to sharing valuable insights on how to prepare for and overcome failure, she ended up feeding into the doom and gloom that overwhelms us at most times when we are tested but fail to deliver. Tips from her to positively tackle challenges would have been welcome and incredibly healing in these highly depressing Corona times.

Yet, far from showing resilience, Hillary chose to make her lecture a whiny weepy hour. She managed to project herself as self-pitying and pitiable, as she sobbingly read out from what was written to serve as her “Victory speech” but instead remained unused because she lost the election. Or, as she continues to claim, was hers but was stolen from her by Trump.

Resilience typically implies accepting events as they occur and to muster the courage within oneself to try and deal with them without breaking oneself. What it does not condone is to refrain from the need to diagnose the complexities of the situation and to correctly gauge and muster one’s own ability to deal with them. Instead, what Hillary demonstrates is how she continually fails to accept the hand dealt out to her, and worse, how she continues to challenge the card dealer’s legitimacy.

Among our new year’s resolutions, a leading one should be to pray for resilience – not of the kind that keeps politicians from gracefully conceding defeat or the sort that compels them to be dismissive of the outcome or of the capability and credentials of others.

To find resilience, we need only to turn to the millions of Americans across this nation and the world, who continue to ungrudgingly lead their lives, but have the courage and will to renovate and innovate their lifestyles, and to adjust their aspirations and expectations of life to the changing reality and challenges of Corona.

The best resolve to make by each of us for the coming year is to refuse to allow the pandemic or the governing regime’s excessive restrictions to undermine our ability and our resilience to endure and outlast both.

Above all, we need to hang on to our dreams and to continue to surpass our limitations and others’ expectations of us.

To find resilience, we need only to turn to the millions of Americans across this nation and the world, who continue to ungrudgingly lead their lives, but have the courage and will to renovate and innovate their lifestyles, and to adjust their aspirations and expectations of life to the changing reality and challenges of Corona.

 

Neera Kuckreja Sohoni has a Ph.D. in economics and is a published author and opinion writer.

Images courtesy of (Illustration courtesy nccid.ca) and pROVIDED

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