Sincerely, Sumner: finding unity in uncertainty

Columns Editor Sumner Wallace ’20 reveals the positive potential in the COVID-19 pandemic in the fourth installment of Sincerely, Sumner.

Sumner Wallace, Columns Editor

Dear readers,

We are living in uncertain times. The ambiguity of the coming weeks and months is weighing on the hearts and minds of many including myself. However, if treated properly, the COVID-19 pandemic could be a blessing in disguise.

This is a unique crisis in that we are all facing a common enemy. In fact many people, like President Trump, have declared “war” on coronavirus. In a war the mentality is us versus them, a mentality that is often detrimental. It can leave giant rifts long after the people that created them are dead.

But this is not us versus them. This is us versus ithumanity versus a virus.

When I say the pandemic could be a blessing in disguise, it’s not to say that we’re all going to be fine and what we’re seeing is actually rainbows and sunshine, because we aren’t and it isn’t. A huge portion of our population is in danger of serious or fatal health issues. But it’s a special day when the world, the entire world, has the opportunity to come together over a shared struggle.

This is not us versus them. This is us versus it—humanity versus a virus.”

— Sumner Wallace '20

In Washington and in governments all over the world politicians are trying to use this as leverage, to make a virus political. That is despicable. Indeed Trump’s declaration of war is despicable as it’s a grab at public favor hidden under the veil of presidential duty. Coronavirus is not a political issue, it’s a human issue.

While I don’t agree with Trump on most things, if at all, I don’t think the war metaphor is altogether bad. It does have the sweet sound of a team effort during tough times, something we desperately need. 

After the coronavirus is “defeated,” the repercussions will not be the same as a traditional war. The only rift that will exist is between humanity and the coronavirus—a rift that should not create political tension or polarized opinions. (I think we can all agree that we don’t want to see COVID-19 “round these parts no more”). 

I know in practice that it is unrealistic to believe this issue will stop being politicized. After all, war benefits some people. However if everyone saw it as a human issue; if everyone buried the hatchet—buried the racist “Chinese Virus” idea—and came together (while staying a healthy six feet apart) then maybe, for one glimmering moment, we could find unity in our uncertainty.