April 20, 2020

VIDEO: Young Offers Vision for Rebuilding After Coronavirus

Click HERE to watch Senator Young’s remarks.

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) delivered remarks to the Sagamore Institute this week commending the Hoosier communities, businesses, and individuals who have stepped up to help their neighbors during the coronavirus pandemic, and outlining his vision on how to overcome this challenging time.


“The list of those who are asking how they can help, and finding innovative ways to do so, is too long to recite here. The fight against coronavirus has catalyzed our American can-do spirit. Our pride swells as we see problem solvers take the initiative and overcome another historic challenge, from the bottom up. Let us move forward intent that we, and future generations, might draw energy from this moment — forever.  And let us resolve to find new ways to be better citizens by using our God-given talents to serve others,” said Senator Young.


To watch Senator Young’s speech, click HERE.


Senator Young’s full remarks as prepared for delivery are below:


Fellow Hoosiers: We are passing through a painful period – one we never imagined we’d live through, one we will never forget.


The coronavirus has not spared our state – thousands are sick, hundreds of loved ones lost. As dire as it is to say, these numbers will grow.


It’s not only the infected that this pandemic has hurt. The Coronavirus is robbing so many Hoosiers of their ability to earn a living; it’s taking away businesses they worked for decades to build.


Many of the people and places that bring life to our neighborhoods and downtown squares have disappeared without warning. 


Our farmers can’t postpone planting season – even in the face of falling prices and fewer buyers.


New anxieties are everywhere. Routines are upended. Our children are wondering when they will see their friends again, why their graduations were canceled.


It’s difficult not to feel hopeless or afraid.


Help is on the way though.


Congress is sending every necessary support to workers and employers, and much needed supplies to medical professionals and hospitals.


We are also removing red tape to help our economy withstand this virus and speed medical innovations to treat and eventually cure it.


But though our government – a government “of the people” – is sending relief and will continue to do so, it’s our citizens who are leading the fight outside of government.


We are showing a spirit that is uniquely American – and Hoosier. We have the grit to say the hell with this virus, and the heart to protect one another from it.


We are not just passively letting it run its course – we are doing our parts and together we will pass through this.


We see this spirit in the incredible heroism of our healthcare workers and care givers. They have been asked to bear the greatest burden – and they have answered. In doing this they are sacrificing their own safety and coming to the rescue where medicine cannot. 


We’ve seen it too in the bravery from those in what we have deemed our essential industries. They were essential long before this crisis – but it took this crisis to make that clear.


And we have seen it in the actions of rank and file Hoosiers. 


Across Indiana there are countless acts of courage and compassion – Hoosiers leaving groceries on a neighbor’s doorstep, printing off 3-D face masks, or even something as simple as just buying bags of coffee to help keep a local business going. 


In Floyd County, a florist dropped off azaleas at homes around the area. The accompanying notes read: “During this time of darkness, we hope to bring you a little light.”


These “little lights” are glowing across our state in this otherwise dark time.


We have to keep them lit: As difficult and heartbreaking as the past weeks have been, greater challenges lie ahead.


Make no mistake: this is a stress test for America. And we will pass it.


We will emerge a stronger, better nation – a more perfect union.


I believe this because the virus has awakened us to threats our nation was already facing, and reminded us of our awesome power to meet them. And it will encourage us to confront unrealized opportunities, and untapped human potential, as we rebound from this crisis and rebuild our economy.


Long before this terrible virus, Americans were drifting into virtual communities, abandoning institutions and neighborliness, forming connections that were screen-deep and transient. All the technology that made our lives better also drove us apart.


In an incredible irony, the isolation and separation essential to fighting the coronavirus is reminding us all how much we need each other, how reliant we are on one other, how priceless real human interaction is. And how poor a substitute social media is for it all. 


Right now, we are living apart but closer than ever.  This pandemic will pass. But let’s not let this newfound unity slip away with it.


During this crisis we’ve watched as beloved institutions in our towns and cities have been forced to close, and left with no choice but to let decades-long employees go.


We are doing everything in our power to make their absence temporary. But, as agonizing as it is, let’s take this time to remember the important part they play in the strength of our communities, and in the health of our nation. 


The cafes and pizza shops, libraries and museums. These are the rare places where we come together, regardless of occupation or income, where we interact and exchange ideas with those whose experiences and views don’t match our own. 


This is where we come out of our echo chambers, where we are reminded that we all have a common destiny and we have to stop drifting apart.


This public health crisis is impacting all Americans, no matter their station in life. There are many though who are especially vulnerable to it because of life circumstances. This is a reminder that an opportunity gap separates too many of our citizens. In the days ahead, let’s rededicate ourselves to closing it.


There are loved ones on our minds today – maybe an elderly neighbor, or an isolated friend. Even for those who are safe at home, this is a difficult and terribly lonely time.


Millions of Americans were lost and felt alienated long before now due to our nation’s growing loneliness epidemic. It’s a public health crisis of another sort. It’s lowering lifespans and fueling an addiction crisis that has hit Indiana particularly hard. 


The compassion we are showing each other in this moment, the simple but powerful gestures such as calling a friend or checking in on a neighbor – it would be a blessing if we would sustain this long after stopping the spread of this virus.


These are the very tools we will need to fight the loneliness that will remain long after we leave our homes once again. Let’s work to seek help for our loneliness, and to make others less lonely through continued friendship and kindness.


Marines are taught to confront problems with creative thinking, to adapt, improvise, and overcome. Similarly, when Hoosiers face tough situations, they roll up their sleeves and ask “how can I help?”


When Americans combine our innovative spirit with service to others we can meet any moment. Including the one we are now in.


In their toughest hour, restaurants all across the state are donating food to those in need.


Distilleries in Indianapolis, Bloomington, Valparaiso and elsewhere are brewing and handing out hand sanitizer.


Eli Lilly and Company is offering free Covid-19 testing for those on the front lines.


Trade unions are giving personal protective equipment to first responders in Hammond.


In Ft. Wayne, Vera Bradley is moving from sewing bags to producing face masks and other protective gear.


Roofing contractors in New Albany are donating masks to medical personnel. 


A plastic factory in Evansville, and a community workshop in Jeffersonville, are both producing face shields for local hospitals.


The list of those who are asking how they can help, and finding innovative ways to do so, is too long to recite here. The fight against coronavirus has catalyzed our American can-do spirit.  


Our pride swells as we see problem solvers take the initiative and overcome another historic challenge, from the bottom up.


Let us move forward intent that we, and future generations, might draw energy from this moment — forever.  And let us resolve to find new ways to be better citizens by using our God-given talents to serve others. 


A people capable of rushing to each other’s aid and tackling daunting challenges deserves a government that can serve as an ally. One that is capable of boldness when called upon. One with leaders who can distinguish between constructive debate and paralyzing dysfunction. 


For decades we have debated big government vs. small government, unrestrained government vs. limited government. Like most Hoosiers, I’m in the limited government camp. But this emergency shows that paradigm is incomplete.


Most Americans are pragmatic people. They believe in our institutions, but they want those institutions to function. They are grateful that our government has risen to this challenge, but they expect its responsibilities to be properly scoped and its services to be effectively delivered.


We should remember that government’s role in our national life can and should change over time, and that we must sustain healthy government in preparation for our next emergency.  If we show contempt for ALL government we will get contemptible government.


The days ahead will not be easy. But we will endure them. And these clouds will part. And when they do, we will care for those who have been hurt and we will rebuild what we’ve lost — with the same spirit with which we are now fighting this virus.   


And if we go forward with this fresh in our minds, there is no problem too big for us to solve – together.