Open or Closed? The Seminal Question for November

July 16, 2020 Updated: July 20, 2020


I was in New York City in the past few days, and I was shocked.

The train to Penn Station from New Jersey had only two other passengers in our car. Normally, it has well over 100. Penn Station was very lightly filled with travelers, and I had to search to find a homeless person sprawled on the floor.

New York is still essentially a closed city. Yes, 2020 has been very unusual. Many ask, when will 2020 end? Will 2021 be better? I sure hope so.

We’ve never seen a worldwide, intentional biological attack before. Was the original release from the Wuhan lab intentional? I don’t think so, but once it got out, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) played it hard, loose, and fast. They now own it—it’s the CCP virus. Now that Dr. Yan Li-Meng has risked life and family to escape and tell the truth, we should find out more details on the chain of events.

Now, we have civil unrest—some caused by outrage over an injustice. However, most has been leveraged by avowed Marxists in Antifa who simply hate our system. Their proposed replacement? If we are guided by their ideological kin from the past: the Gulag, show trials, and misery for all. Wonderful.

We’ve also seen this bizarre situation, as blue-state governors and mayors have seemed mesmerized and excited by their newfound authority and powers to order their citizenry around. Often with little scientific evidence, data, or support, they’ve imposed harsh measures on their populace.

Human nature in these situations is understandable. The instinctive human response of fear, doubt, and a search for an expedient answer is totally understandable.

Those leaders who relish absolute power have seized this opportunity to assert and push the envelope of their authority, and often citizens have dutifully complied. I think this situation has now defined the coming national election in November. The question that has now evolved as the pivotal debate point for the election is simple: Should the country be open or closed?

Economy: Open or Closed?

Until the virus hit, there was little question, until the State of the Union speech on Feb. 4, the American economy was roaring—it had never been better.

Every single measurement of economic health was positive. Lowest unemployment ever. Lowest recorded minority unemployment ever. America’s gross domestic product was pulling away from everyone, especially the People’s Republic of China. America dominated world energy production—a statement that only a few years ago everyone would have thought impossible. Manufacturing jobs were returning. New businesses were opening at a record rate.

And then, the CCP virus hit and within a couple of months, the new high bar on the U.S. economy set by President Donald Trump was lowered, but taking into account dropping unemployment, rising stock markets, and the first worldwide biological attack, the economy already is exhibiting resilience.

The compressed spring of the U.S. economic potential is beginning to spring back in red states and cities.

But blue states and cities are beginning to resemble Soviet Russia, with bare store shelves, shuttered stores, and lines for everything (socially distanced, of course, unless you’re looting). The specter of mass exodus of their populations is accelerating. So, do you conduct endless Zoom sessions from your home office or vote with your feet?

Schools: Open or Closed?

This debate is one of the most telling and nakedly political. The American Academy of Pediatricians advocated passionately for school opening in the fall. That is until Trump cited them, and then, voila! They were against opening schools. Shameless politicization at its best (or worst?).

Betsy DeVos has been heroic, visible, and very effective as the Department of Education secretary, often a parking lot for forgettable personalities.

She has been a blur of positive energy and motion, while on the cutting edge of exposing and punishing academics caught in the web (often very willingly) of the CCP’s Thousand Talents program, changing the dynamic on discussions on school choice, and insisting on performance and results.

We all, of course, want our children to be safe, and, at the same time, receive a high-quality education. Bubble wrapping our children in a hermetically sealed basement will accomplish neither. The established education culture needs to be aware; they may rapidly find themselves redundant and replaceable if they become partisan and lobby for a closed nation.

Public Gatherings: Open or Closed?

Blue governors and mayors have shown a contortionist and expedient view on public gatherings. If it’s a church gathering—that’s a “hot zone.” If it’s a mob breaking into a store to get the bread hidden in Nike shoe boxes (a reference to Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s explanation of looting), there’s not even a passing reference to the CCP virus.

If it’s a Trump rally, it’s a “hot zone.” If it’s a statue-toppling event, contrived outrage over social distancing disappears in nanoseconds.

So all I ask is intellectual honesty, consistency, and a yearning for truth, not narrative. The CCP virus numbers at this time are wildly inaccurate because of a lack of normalization on reporting standards.

In other words, due to a lack of agreed-upon national standards of reporting, the numbers will continue to be all over the map. A vigilant and informed populace is a very important influence in forcing the “experts” to get it right and count in a uniform manner. The choice about public gatherings is yours, unless you’re in a blue region.

Your Life: Open or Closed?

So when will 2020 be over? Dec. 31. When will the election cycle be over? Nov. 3 (it starts again on Nov. 4). Will things get better? Are we at a new normal? Unknown.

The operative question for the citizen and the election is clear: Do you want to live your life open or closed? Your decision.

Col. (Ret.) John Mills is a national security professional with service in five eras: Cold War, Peace Dividend, War on Terror, World in Chaos, and now—Great Power Competition. He is the former director of cybersecurity policy, strategy, and international affairs at the Department of Defense.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.