We can move forward through this crisis experiencing our country as an embittered navy waiting to fight it out on shore. Or, alternatively, as a big crazy armada with millions of people throwing and catching millions of lifelines. Which I suppose is how a lot of us tend to see this country of deep inequalities and glittering possibilities. The latter attitude will be more helpful in getting us through, and as Lincoln observed, attitude is everything.
We have all been told to be protective of each other—stay inside—and supportive. What is the nightly 7 p.m. pot-banging but a spontaneous show of appreciation? But I am thinking of how much we actually just like each other, admire each other, and barely notice. The Washington Post Thursday had a story about the release of 43 men who lived for a month inside the Braskem petrochemical plant in Marcus Hook, Pa. Braskem produces raw material for face masks and surgical gowns. The workers figured if they got sick it would slow production, so they volunteered to stay in the plant, work long shifts, and sleep on air mattresses. They called it a “live-in.” At one point their families held a drive-by parade so they could wave through the windows.
“We were just happy to be able to help,” Joe Boyce, a shift supervisor, told Post reporter Meagan Flynn. When the story broke they were flooded with grateful messages from doctors and nurses. “But we want to thank them for what they did and are continuing to do,” Mr. Boyce said.