2020.05.04 Homeland Security?

The Corona crisis has taught us all a lot about resiliency. Individually and as a society.

I first learned about societal resiliency from the Swiss.

Many years back - when I still lived east of the Atlantic Ocean - I was skiing with my family in Switzerland. Out ski school teacher was a local farmer. One of the other students was from a farm in the flat northern part of Germany.

Our teacher had six cows. Our German friend's parents had 200.

The teacher was almost speechless. "You must millionaires" she said, much surprised that it was not so.

In Switzerland the price of milk off the farm was about 20 times that in Germany. The Swiss have always wanted to be able to close their borders during a crisis. And you can only do that if you have somebody within the borders willing to produce food for the country. Somebody who under normal circumstances can sustain a living on the mountain by having six cows with a sufficient area of hay fields - and teaching tourists to ski when the cows are not on pasture.

To the Swiss, farming was a "Homeland Security" strategic industry - worth subsidizing. Milk off the farm was more expensive than in the stores.

This memory came back to me as I was assembling face shields for our health care workers. Do It Yourself Personal Protective Equipment or DIYPPE because there has to be an acronym. Don't ask me why.

At a time when the country has at least 26 mill workers looking for a job, keeping the healthcare workers safe is a job for volunteers...

I get that we all feel a little better if we can do something rather than just watch from the sidelines. I just wonder why people should not be allowed to make a living when there is important work to be done?

This is such a complex country. Volunteering is everywhere; there is no end to the good will of the population - and no end to the dysfunction of its systems.

Perhaps the US could consider producing more Homeland Security strategic necessities within the borders - just like the Swiss? We could put the National Strategic Stockpile into the defense budget. Then the suppliers would naturally have to be American and it would always get funded.

The defense budget is for defending the people, or...?