“These are the times that try men’s souls.”
If you don’t remember American History class, that was the opening statement made by Thomas Paine in his pamphlet, “The Crisis”, now commonly known as, “The American Crisis.” While this was written during some of the lowest points of the American Revolution, I have found myself focused on this statement many times in the past few weeks. The mental and physical toll being taken by people from all walks of life has been astounding. Yet, Americans are digging deep and trying to be there for each other as we face another challenge. We need that strength and vigilance even more now than in the years prior.
No matter what you see from the keyboard warriors or from your favorite pundits and cable news stations, the general feel has been one of community and strength when you get to down to the neighborhoods and communities. This pandemic does not care about your age, race, gender, political affiliation, financial status, religious beliefs, or any other thing that we like to use to separate ourselves. It is an equal opportunity attacker. For the most part, I believe that this is how many communities have responded. Nobody who as offered help has first asked about any of the identifiers I mentioned earlier, they are just helping. They are trying to be there for their fellow man as much as they are able.
It is in this spirit. That I implore us all to remember to be taking the mental health of our friends and neighbors into consideration. For farmers, this was supposed to be the year that things started to turn around. The indicators were there. Now 2020 has hit us even harder than 2018 and 2019 did. Because of this, we are seeing an emotional strain not witnessed since the farm crisis of the 1980s. Be there for each other. Call one another. Make sure your friends are ok. Ask them how planting is going, how the family is, and if there is anything they need help with. Obviously, we need to maintain social distancing, but sometimes help takes on other forms.
Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley talked about this during his weekly call with Ag media members. It is a true statement, no matter what sector of agriculture you are in. It does not even matter what sector of the economy you are in. The Senator said identification is the key to successfully helping one another.
If you do not remember what your high school history teacher said on the subject, maybe because you were asleep, let me refresh you on one little thing. After Thomas Paine published “The Crisis” it was read to the Colonial soldiers before the Battle of Trenton, which was one of the biggest Colonial victories in the war. Maybe we too can be inspired once again to dig deep, support each other, and beat this virus back.