Tom Clancy imagined history before it happened.
This prodigious writer of fiction had a knack for sewing together elements of technology, animus between nation states, and the dark schemes of terrorists into seamless and compelling works of fiction.
His 1994 book Debt of Honor laid out a Japanese plot to take revenge on the United States, including an airline pilot flying a fully fueled 747 into the Capitol building, killing most of the federal government. That carnage led to the installation of placeholder vice president Jack Ryan as the new president. (Think shades of the television show Designated Survivor.) Airliners flying into government and commercial buildings became reality in 2001 when Islamic terrorists lived out Clancy’s fiction, flying airliners into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and a field in Pennsylvania.
Clancy’s follow up was the 1996 book Executive Orders. In this work of fiction, terrorists aerosolize a new, more deadly strain of the Ebola virus, dispersing it in crowds throughout the United States at crowded venues like airports and conferences.
While these efforts prove disastrous in the short term, it’s President Jack Ryan’s cool head and solid logic that saves the day and restores sanity and equilibrium to the United States and the world.
We need Clancy’s fictional character’s cool head and solid logic today as the Coronavirus (COVID-19) wreaks wrecking ball destruction on our health and economy. Otherwise, our response to the virus could ultimately prove more destructive than the virus, our cure being worse than the disease.
Rudyard Kipling spoke poetically of the need for courageous and cool heads in his poem “If.”
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you…
President Franklin Roosevelt assured Americans in the grip of the Great Depression at his 1933 inaugural address,
The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
It requires hardheaded, clear-eyed thinking to navigate the Cyanean Rocks of lethargy and inaction on one hand and over-aggressiveness on the other, in order to effectively manage our current crisis.
Christians should be among the wisest in navigating our current challenges, bringing prayerful confidence and Christ-like wisdom to a situation in which others may lose their heads and look about for someone to blame. We have the opportunity to bring peace to those worrying, care to others in need, and confidence born of personal knowledge of the One writing the story of our future even now.
Links for more information and specific recommendations regarding the Corona virus: