Never, certainly in my lifetime, has a situation brought the entire world together to fight an enemy – but even in this gathering strength there is division.
Dissenting opinion is critical for coming to resolutions – if everyone thinks the same, then no new objectives can be created and perhaps areas of blindness will prevail. You can think of examples just like me – whether it is in business when companies like IBM and Chrysler didn't think they needed to change or regimes like Nazi Germany thought they were invincible.
But our threat is more than another company or new way of doing things – our enemy is not a scapegoat – it is a virus. Perhaps a non-living entity that has no agenda but to survive and replicate.
It's easy to hate an enemy like this. And all of humanity is threatened in one way or another. Yes, we're touched in different ways – we've probably all seen something on social media that shows that for some it's the heartbreak of cancelling or postponing important events like graduations, weddings or milestones like proms - things that many of us have taken for granted.
For some it means not being able to be at the side of people we love in person who are losing their lives to Covid-19.
For some its desperation to work because money is running out and income is needed to get necessities to live.
This is a humanitarian crisis affecting that's hard to get our heads around just how impacted the planet is - it's not like other tragic news events we've learned about before - it's not only affecting a segment of the world - it's all of us this time. And technology can bring us anywhere to see its affects on all of humanity instantly. It's a lot for many of us to process.
It's the worst of all things - the brokenness of illness and those treating the victims worldwide, and of of the unimaginable suffering.
It's the best of all things - the resilience of humanity singing to each other from their balconies to show solidarity and love.
The images are astounding – from the Pope praying in an empty St. Peter's Square to celebrities catching and quarantining and even succumbing to illness – just like any other human.
The horribleness of this modern-day plague – and from now I just want to call it "The-Sickness-That-Must-Not-Be-Named" (because like Voldemort I don't want to give it any more power by naming it – and frankly I'm just sick of saying or seeing its name) is a thing that everyone in the world can relate to in some fashion. It's the thoughts, images, sounds and emotions we go to bed with and wake up with.
There's some sort of tragic beauty in realizing the frailty and strength in humanity in all of this.
Then come the blamers and finger-pointers.
Did SARS-CoV-2 start in a "Wet Market" in Wuhan and come fron an animal – a bat? A pangolin? Something else? Is it possible that "germ warfare" is going on here and the virus was purposely created? I've seen arguments on both sides and the jury still isn't out yet - "US explores possibility that coronavirus spread started in Chinese lab, not a market" (CNN, Thursday, April 16, 2020) and "Scientists Are Tired of Explaining Why The COVID-19 Virus Was Not Made in a Lab" (Monday, April 20, 2020).
Either way, who is responsible? Some want to point to an entire country as though every person living in China or those of Chinese descent are to blame, wherever they live - how can those thoughts be justified?
Should government leaders have acted sooner? In an unprecedented circumstance it's always easiest to look back and say what should have been done, but difficult to assess at the time.
When should countries, states, and cities attempt to go "back to normal"? And what does that mean? And who gets to decide which is the absolute "right" thing to do?
And now its turning into threats, anger, hostility for those on opposite ends of how we should proceed, and I fear violence against - not only in protestors but people on the street and against the police who will be charged with keeping order agains those who are at the least foolhardy and at the worst completely irresponsible and dangerous.
As a parent of children of any age, this is a terribly challenging time that ranges from families suffering in survival mode all the way to parents attempting to teach their children to be reasonable and to consider multiple perspectives because they have the luxury to do so.
We greatly value those who are providing "front line" services to our communities, commonly called "essential workers." But what of those who are saying "all jobs are essential" because simply living period depends on their paycheck?
What are the impacts of heading "back to normal" too quickly to prevent further economic destruction but wreaking havoc on our critically weakened healthcare system?
And further down what is the impact of hatred that is developing between groups of people that are polar opposites of these issues?
These are not easy times or easy answers.
All of this concerns me, but I realize that I cannot control others' thoughts, opinions and I certainly have no idea how to put myself in the shoes of those who are in varied ways facing the brunt of these circumstances beyond what I'm experiencing at the present moment.
All I CAN do, is hope to try to teach my older teens to think carefully about multiple viewpoints and not to not rush to judgment about anything, to not spread information without facts and to avoid the destructiveness of scapegoating, name-calling and insensitivity toward others – because none of that makes anything better. Thank goodness, they aren't the types that do this anyway.
No matter the situation, this has been difficult, and I realize my kids have a right to their own frustrations, confusion, feelings of missing out, etc. But past this there needs to be helpfulness, resourcefulness and flexibility - and above all – hope.
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