Proud to be an American

National crises have always provided the opportunity for our best to be at their best.  Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.

Like you, I’ve been watching television and reading newspapers trying to find out about the coronavirus and trying to figure out how this pandemic will affect me, my family, my business, my community, my state, my country and my world.  During my immersion into this cauldron of information one voice stood out:  Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Fauci was on TV over and over again.  He appeared live on every network.  I believe this was the day after he testified before the Senate, so you know he probably started the day tired.  He is 89 years old.  He has served in 6 consecutive presidential administrations. He is world renowned as an expert in his field.  According to him, he has been putting in 19 hour days. By the end of the very long day and night that I watched him, he was beginning to lose his voice, but he remained patient, calm, clear, strong, consistent, plainspoken and, above all, truthful.  His knowledge, expertise and credibility were self-evident.  He was exactly who we (I) needed to hear.  I marveled at his stamina and at his ability to rise above the panic and the partisanship.  He was exactly the right person for this time.  I was proud he was an American and thought to myself that he was the living embodiment of what we profess to want:  special professional competence; selfless public service; and, truthfulness.  He is not tainted by greed or politics or a desire for fame or applause. 

Do we have more Dr. Fauci’s in public service?  I hope so, we need them.  I started to make that last sentence read, “…we need them as never before,” but we have always needed them and we will always need them.  Despite all the bashing of a conspiratorial, evil “deep state”, we all hope there is a deep pool of talented, honest professionals in our government who can do the work regardless of which party is in power.  We know you can’t count on political people who come and go and who are typically motivated by some form of self-interest.  One has to wonder whether the best and brightest are attracted to or repelled by government service.  After seeing what has happened to honorable career civil servants, military personnel, diplomats and scientists during this administration, why would you choose to put yourself at great risk for less money?  It is not a good idea to assume that we will be able to attract and retain the best and brightest to government/public service if we denigrate them and force them to serve in a toxic environment.