Sam Spence

Heed the wise words of Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg: “Stay home, stay distanced, and stay smart.”

This devil of a coronavirus pandemic is deadly. Health officials warn that the way to crush the highly contagious virus is to let it peter out by giving time for its virulence to dissipate.

So to protect the Lowcountry, we’re in a waiting game in which all of us need to participate. If you don’t isolate yourself, you are a threat to everyone.

To curb the outbreak, everyone needs to keep out of harm’s way by limiting contact with other people. Stay home.

If you have to get to the grocery store or if you must go to work, you need to keep several feet away from anyone — so you don’t take the chance of getting infected, expanding the virus. In other words, stay distanced.

Finally, stay smart by being safe. Wash your hands several times a day (take a look at television personality Alton Brown’s video on how to wash your hands). Wipe surfaces. Don’t panic. Use common sense.

“If we follow these rules right now — if we stay home, stay distanced and stay smart — we can still avoid being a hotspot, like Italy or New York,” Tecklenburg said at a Sunday press conference. “And if we don’t follow these rules, we can spend the next few months watching funerals online — literally, thousands of funerals — because we won’t be able to gather together even to say goodbye to our loved ones.”

America survived the Great Depression and World War II because of shared sacrifices of the Greatest Generation to pull together for the common good. Now is the time for us to renew a commitment to making shared sacrifices for the common good.

The notion of common good is built into our country’s DNA. Our founding fathers wanted to rid themselves of an oppressive system and take control of our destiny through a democratic system powered by people. The underlying principle generally was that people, not a king, would decide how to do things, which would benefit the majority.

In challenging times for the common good, people were asked to give a little to save a lot down the road. Give some in taxes to build a road to benefit all. Give a little to provide for the common defense, education, good working conditions, and economic infrastructure.

It’s all outlined in the U.S. Constitution, the preamble of which discusses forming a more perfect union to “establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity.”

“Welfare” in this case doesn’t mean handouts by the government to people who are down on their luck. It means people in towns and villages across the country working together to accomplish common goals, or goods, to make their areas better for all.

Toxic politics in recent years hurt the principle of common good, despite how it has served the nation well. Common sense dictates a refreshed commitment to shared sacrifice to get beyond the pandemic. Common good requires it.

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