If This is a War, Why Are So Many Unwilling to Fight?

Angela Johnson
2 min readJun 2, 2020

President Trump has likened our fight against Covid-19 to a war. And in many ways the analogy works.

The death toll surely rings of wartime losses, as we’ve now surpassed the total American lives lost from 23 years of foreign wars fought in Vietnam and Korea.

Remember the brave servicemen who fought in Vietnam because they were directed to by their government? And remember those who spat upon them when they returned, for doing the duty their country required of them — regardless of its convenience or even whether they were fully on board with the United States’ intervention?

Who are the fighters in this war? They’re those who protect others by keeping their potential or unknown virus away from others by wearing face masks. Those who practice social distancing. Those who do not go to work when they don’t feel well. Those who follow the orders of the Trump-appointed task force whose job it is to help America curb the casualties of this war.

It might not be as noteworthy as firing an M16 at the Vietcong, but it is how lives are saved right now. It won’t make a dramatic story later. Will your machismo, your ego, or your vanity prevent you from helping save American lives in this war? I hope not: it would be a sad day when a person would rather don a gun than a mask to save his neighbor.

Will you do something mildly uncomfortable to prevent American deaths? Photo by Alex Martinez on Unsplash

That is not bravery, manliness, or strength. That is stubbornness, complacency, and pride. And we know what the Bible says about pride. (Notably, the Bible-quotes website I used to double-check myself is selling a variety of masks.)

What would you say to those spitting at returning veterans? What would you say now to those protecting you in this war by wearing a mask? Can you inconvenience yourself for an America my grandfather got shot protecting in WWII? He’d be wearing a mask, guaranteed, if he was privileged enough to have breath to breathe into it.

Will you be the one to unwittingly kill by friendly fire? You won’t know until it’s too late.



Angela Johnson

Writer for hire, for fun, and from the necessity of untangling my thoughts. The adage I cling to lately is "the first 40 years of childhood are the hardest."