The nation is facing its share of major crises, 38 states now challenged with surging upticks in COVID cases, (more than 132,000 American deaths) a faltering economy where unemployment numbers continue to hover around 40 million Americans currently unemployed, police brutality against African Americans continues to haunt the nation, hundreds of police officers threatening to quit the job, and American citizens continuing to suffer from hunger as the food lines continue to grow.  States are having to push back on opening phases II & III as they experience over 60, 000 new COVID infection cases per day and the experts says the nation is heading to over 100 thousand new cases per day.  In Los Angeles, we have experienced a 75% increase in new infections over the past two weeks, more than 10, 000 cases per day.  New York is the only state that has flattened the curve in the number of COVID cases.  The state of California is headed for a shut down, closing restaurants, museums, movie theaters, inhouse dining, and beaches due to the surge in COVID cases.

Frightened senior citizens with comprised immune systems such as obesity, lung and heart disease, diabetes and other health challenges are fearful and are now forced to deal with yet another serious concern, young people going out without wearing masks, failing to practice social distancing, and ultimately bringing the virus home to them.  Seniors who are staying at home trying to avoid this deadly virus are now saying it is not a matter of if I will contract the virus but when I will become a victim and die from COVID 19.  If the current upward trend in COVID cases continues it expected that by the end of July 2020 the country will see up to 100,000 thousand new cases per day and an explosive death rate.  This virus is now killing young folks as well.  Young folks let’s get real, COVID is watching and has its eyes on you.  Young people you cannot outrun nor can you hide from COVID 19, it is out there and it is real and deadly.

Add to the predicament, President Trump is now embroiled in yet another explosive controversy over an alleged Russian bounty being paid to Taliban to kill US troops serving in Afghanistan.  Money is alleged to have been paid by Russian Government officials (Putin) to Taliban operatives to kill American troops with the president being aware of the tragedy.  Both Trump and Vice President Pence contend that they were never briefed on the matter.  President Trump in too many instances appears to be oblivious to these crises and is more concerned with and focused on reelection plans.  He refuses to wear a mask or to encourage American citizens to do so even after the medical and scientific communities clearly indicate that wearing masks help to quell the increase in numbers of COVID 19.  As the nation’s top leader, it is disingenuous for the president not to be setting examples for citizens to follow by personally wearing a mask at public gatherings.  Great leaders lead by example.

On top of these crises, President Trump is also threatening to veto and block a bill for funding military spending because the bill supports the renaming of military bases named for Confederate generals who fought in the Confederate Army against the United States during the Civil War; they fought to preserve the south and maintain the institution of slavery which is the most disgraceful chapter in American history.  Let’s be real, America cannot return to the 1960’s, the Nixon, George Wallace, Bull Conner, and David Duke era.  We must go forward with the hope and willingness to change the things that cause us to walk away from each other rather than towards one another.

In common street vernacular, the phrase “time to be real,” simply means, tell the truth, do the right things, forget the kidding, be for real (authentic).  It means that fake games are over, no more lies, no more excuses, no more deceptions, let’s be real.

During this pandemic, protesters across the world have been marching for days and weeks, fighting for justice for all people.  Protesters have taken to the streets demanding that statutes of Confederate generals be removed from town and city squares.  In several situations they have taken matters into their own hands and have torn down these demeaning statutes.  They no longer wish to honor and celebrate the names of racist soldiers, and generals who were the architects and purveyors of the move to keep Black Amerian citizens enslaved for over four hundred years.  It was slave labor that built America and white citizens today are still benefiting from this national tragedy.

Dr. Herbert Simmons, Jr. is an Associate Professor, Department of Criminal Justice, Grambling State University, former President, Grambling State University Faculty Senate and former Chair, Department of Consumer Education and Resource Management, Howard University, Washington, D.C.


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