The Chihuahua spirit reigns

In the second world war much was made of the Bulldog spirit, with Churchill himself famously portrayed as a grumpy and indomitable bulldog, who, once he’d taken hold, wouldn’t let go.  The name stuck, so that people began proudly to talk of the bulldog spirit as applying to the nation – a term emblematic of the inner strength, resilience, perseverance and courage of the British people as a whole, who, against all odds and whatever the challenge, refused to give in.  
 
It was the bulldog spirit in the 1940s that made us stand out alone against Hitler, when the rest of Europe had fallen.  It was the bulldog spirit that later won the war.  Yet fast forward to 2020, and the national canine embodying the spirit of diversity and inclusivity that denotes modern Britain appears to have become a chihuahua.  No disrespect is meant to chihuahuas as a breed, you understand, but even their most staunch admirers could hardly describe them as fighting dogs, and you certainly wouldn’t buy one to guard your house.  No, they are lap dogs, chiefly distinctive for being below intelligence and excitable – yappy, even.  The sort of dog you’d tuck in your handbag, with a pink bow catching up its hair and, if you’re into that sort of thing, take with you for afternoon tea at Claridge’s.
 
In 1914, and again in 1938, when war broke out, young men across the nation abandoned their studies and jobs to sign up – to defend King and country.  Many young women did the same, taking on the positions left vacant by the men in order to keep the country going.  It can’t have been easy for any of them, yet all alike did it uncomplainingly, in the sure and certain belief they were fighting to protect their families and homes, and defend those who couldn’t physically defend themselves.  No ‘Why me?’ or ‘It’s not fair!’ – they simply got on and did it.   For the greater good.  The bulldog spirit!
 
In 2020 we’re facing another enemy.   Covid-19.  Millions across the globe have already fallen victim and, as of 20 October, there have been 1,125,070 reported deaths worldwide – though the real number is probably far higher, given the confusion there appears to be in recording numbers.  In England, again as of 20 October, there have reportedly been 43,967 deaths occurring within 28 days of diagnosis.   It is forecast that by November, if we fail to act appropriately, we could be seeing around 50,000 daily infections, with around 3,000 hospital admissions and 200+ deaths a day (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-54234084).  The NHS will be swamped.

The question is, will we ‘act appropriately’?  Because, sadly, along with the faith on which our country is founded, we seem nationally to have lost the fighting spirit that puts aside self-interest for the greater good.  The reality is, we’re probably going to have to live with this virus for quite a while, but our plans to combat it so far have been both incompetent and confused – made worse by a rising tide of self-wounded complaint.  ‘It’s not fair!’ people cry.  ‘Why do we have to have restrictions?  Why can’t we meet up with friends at the pub after 10?  Why can’t we party…?’

The answer is simple, though perhaps to modern ears, unpalatable – because, if we carry on as ‘normal’ in these abnormal times, some people, who should have lived, will die.  And many more will suffer.

Yes, the current situation is unpleasant.  Our economy has without doubt taken a massive hit that’s going to affect all of us for years to come, and many are fearful for their livelihoods.  Many others are suffering the toll of anxiety, isolation and fear … and all of us perhaps are living under a shadow that we can’t quite ‘comprehend’.  But what is needed now is for us to pull together … to work selflessly to overcome the crisis produced by the virus.  For the greater good.

Okay, most Covid victims won’t die – but around 1% will, while another 35% will have to endure long term symptoms from which they may never recover. So why don’t we just bite the bullet and make an all-out push to bring the virus under control?  After all, does it really hurt us to wear a face mask in public and keep apart from other people?  And isn’t it better to go for a temporary lockdown that really will bring infection rates down to manageable levels, so that we can then get on with life and start rebuilding our economy?

Over the last years, society seems increasingly to have lost its way.  As a nation we have rejected God – in the process losing the values of honour, faithfulness, steadfastness, truth … self-control – all the values that once made Britain great.  We have lost our moral compass.  But in this virus now, hard though it may be to hear, we are being offered an opportunity.

We are so much better than the mewling, self-obsessed, and ultimately deluded lap dog that our nation has become.  Though the Government may legislate to change our values, the bulldog spirit still lurks somnolent within, needing only to be awakened.    With grit and determination, we can and will get through this crisis – and with a little bit of effort, we can emerge stronger.  But, for that, we need to humble ourselves before God and repent.   We need to recover the values enjoined in the Bible.  Of faithfulness, truth, mercy, perseverance … determination to follow the right course, come hell or high water.

For the greater good and to shield the vulnerable, the bulldog inside us must wake up, and we must act to protect those who cannot protect themselves.

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