By Steven J. Grisafi, PhD.
The announcement by the President of Russian Federation that a COVID-19 vaccine has been approved by the appropriate government authority is a brilliant strategy. Consider that numerous American politicians assert that herd immunity is the only viable solution to the pandemic. Consider that large swaths of the American people are anxious to return to work despite the threat of illness because such people are unable to collect a paycheck working either remotely or for the government. Such persons are usually self-employed and there is no viable alternative for them than to practice their trade. All economists recognize that the longer the economy persists in lock-down the greater the danger of a failure to achieve a full recovery. They also recognize that the quickest economy to return to full operation stands the greatest chance of achieving a full recovery. By approving a vaccine that may be little more helpful than a placebo gives people the confidence to risk the return to work. Doing so they know that they are all taking the same risk and are all working together for the good of the country. They may understand that the vaccine only provides limited protection, but that this is sufficient in this time of crisis, when MOTHER RUSSIA NEEDS YOU!
It appears that news media in America believe that the Americans are just too naive to realize these things. This is because in countries such as Russia there is real patriotism. They may hate Putin, and other despots that rule their country, but there is no limit to their devotion to MOTHER RUSSIA. Americans do not have this. They may have had it in the past but it is long gone now. You may still see some naive patriotism in recent immigrants to America. They are enormously grateful to have escaped the inhuman conditions of their previous abode. But such persons have yet to learn the nuances of American Society. They will raise in their hand a paperback copy of the Constitution while having no clue whatsoever that the document failed miserably; that the document became abrogated by the War Between the States; that the document explicitly permits slavery by defining the manner in which slaves are to be counted in the census; that although several amendments to the Constitution carefully prohibit any sort of discrimination against various characteristics of the American people even this falls short of prohibiting slavery because they fail to undo the provision for the enumeration of slaves. After a few generations living in America the descendants of the former naive immigrants come to recognize these nuances within American Society and the patriotism is lost.
The Constitution was, and still is, meant to be the glue that holds myriad diverse peoples together. The lunacy of American politicians is such that they expect nothing further is needed to bind together diverse peoples in limitless patriotism. I see this same stupidity being echoed in Europe today. Chancellor Merkel was the most well known national leader to have expressed this viewpoint. It is utter nonsense. A nation needs much more than a Constitution to unite a diversity of peoples to its common cause. American prosperity since the Civil War has delayed this reckoning. In recent decades the skill of American politicians to identify external enemies has served to fill the void in patriotism as American fortunes waned with increasing economic despair. Such is the current effort to portray the American people as hopeless lost sheep unable to discern fact from fiction and prevent their being swayed by foreign propaganda. There was a time when Americans considered themselves sufficiently savvy that they would know when they are being duped. But no more! In the eyes of our political leadership we are all too stupid to recognize that foreign agents seek to influence the way we vote. Yet our political leadership themselves employ the same tactics against us!
A nation needs much more than a mere contract to unite diverse peoples in limitless devotion to it. The nation needs a single distinct national culture. The nation needs a single distinct identity. The nation needs the people’s love. If America ever had that, and I think it did within a select portion of the population (Frederick Douglass made clear that his portion was not part that select group), it no longer does now. Europeans remark that they see Americans flying Old Glory on their houses and even their motor vehicles. The Europeans interpret this propensity of Americans to fly the flag as indicative of strong American patriotism. What the Europeans don’t recognize about this habit is that those who fly the flag consider themselves to be the only true patriots and the “others” are un-American. Had Booth not killed Lincoln perhaps the situation would be different today. But Lincoln died before he could achieve whatever it was that he expected to be accomplished. Although delayed more than a century, the consequences of Lincoln’s decisions have been as disastrous for America as they were for him. America needed to be reborn as a new nation to purge itself of its past wrongs. But Lincoln died and we do not know what he would have done. We must do something now.