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Today's Reality Requires Superheroes

As the world struggles to keep things safe and sane during this COVID-19 pandemic, political leaders are emerging as the characters found in a comic book universe. Some more like the hero, others as the villain.

For the past few weeks, I feel as if we have been living in a comic book. A dark cloud of impending doom slowly encroaching upon our North American cities, as we look out into the world watching our neighbours fall victim one by one, falling prey to an invisible enemy. Some cities may be more spared, whereas others, such as New York, has become Metropolis and now needs its Superman the most.

Forget political partisanship, right now the world needs leaders who are strong in their resolve, wise in their efforts, and compassionate towards its citizens. Leaders who surround themselves with experts to whom they are grateful and will, without a doubt, listen. To that end, I have never been more grateful to be living in Canada. Regardless of Party, in Prime Minster Trudeau’s words, “science and experts are guiding [Canada’s] approach” and will continue to do so. Trudeau, with his words of reassurance to Canadians and strict (almost threatening) tone in adhering to social distancing measures, is exactly what is needed to flatten the curve. To “scare” his citizens into doing so. It is his duty. And it is ours to listen. It is the only way that our superheroes, those in the healthcare field, will be able to literally save lives. Day in and day out.

Then there is the United States of America.

Where in such stark contrast to Canada’s “stay home” and “social/physical distancing” messaging, President Trump is confidently stating that by Easter, Americans will get back to work, back to Church, back to being with one another. The focus is on rebooting the economy. Forget about the experts, forget about the world remaining in crisis and requiring the isolation of millions of people. In other words, the economy supersedes the health of the American people.

So here we have our character, Lex Luthor. Dangerous and untouchable, even by COVID. And while it is easy to sit here in Canada and shake our heads in disbelief at the catastrophe taking place just south of or border, it is hard to feel completely disconnected. This virus is a global one and as such, we are and must be more connected now than ever. A villain in one part of the world has a dangerous effect on another. And in this pandemic, the effect could be catastrophic. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a newly emerged Captain America fighting empathically for his citizens, has already assured New Yorkers that one’s health does not need to flounder “for the sake of the stock market.” While the city of New York is facing its biggest crisis since September 11th, there is no question they have a leader who is fighting on their side. At this point, Cuomo and head of the CDC’s Dr. Anthony Fauci, another unexpected superhero amidst this pandemic, should be on the 2020 U.S. Presidential ballot.

In a comic book world, we would now expect to be reaching the halfway point where the plot thickens. Where the numbers of death continue to rise. Where love is on hold, commerce has halted, and the economy spirals to depths unknown. Where citizens (for the most part) heed to the reassuring words put forth by the government and sit idle in the hope that the invisible beast will soon evaporate.

Whereas the villain still stands at the podium and uses it to divide and not conquer the ever-threatening, the future of Metropolis continues to be a huge indelible question mark. One can only pray that this comic book concludes with a fairy tale ending.


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