We all deserve a better world.
After a year of everything that could go wrong seeming to do so, I think everyone is yearning for some stability. People say, “I just want things to get back to normal.” But, if we think about it, that’s not what most of us want. (OK, if you managed to stay insulated from the rest of the world via your gated-community mansion or prepper bunker, good for you! You can skip the rest of this.)
- Do we really want the extreme polarities that have taken over our politics?
- Do we really want people to be afraid to go to and from their homes, because they fit — or don’t fit — a certain type?
- Do we really want an economy that has revealed itself to be so fragile and inequitable?
- Do we really want to face another pandemic with a broken, overwhelmed healthcare system and no cohesive planning or leadership? (The scientists warn us it’s just a matter of time before the next one.)
I’ll go out on a limb here, but I believe the answer to the above is, “No.”
- We do want to be able to dine out again.
- We do want to be able to meet with family and friends face-to-face — complete with hugs and kisses. (Sorry, kids.)
- We do want to be able to go back to work to support ourselves and families without sacrificing our own health and well-being.
- We do want to be on time with our rent or mortgage payments, and not juggle food versus heat.
But many of the things we consider “normal” haven’t been the norm for a lot of people even before 2020 rolled around.
We the people — individuals, communities, nations and inhabitants of this planet we call home — we have the right to pursue our dreams and make a living. But with that right comes responsibility. We have responsibilities to our families, communities, and the earth itself to pursue our dreams in ways that benefit us all.
What do I mean by that?
If you’re sick, stay home. If you have to go out into public, wear a mask. (There’s a good reason influenza cases have decreased this season.) If you’re a boss, don’t make your employees come in sick. Send them home!
As a society, the U.S. needs to take a hard look at how we handle healthcare. The front line of doctors, nurses, EMTs, support workers have borne the brunt of this pandemic, yet the insurance companies have raked in the money (even the so-called non-profits). What’s wrong with this picture?
This year has exposed the results of things like redlining real estate, jerrymandering voting districts, and whole segments of the workforce shut out of unemployment benefits and other assistance. We’re also reaping the consequences of centuries of irresponsible resource exploitation. Those “normals” have brought death, loss, despair, and rage to millions.
Every time you talk to someone, post on social media, comment on the news, or vote, you are making choices. Have you been thinking about those choices, or are you just reacting? Have you considered the consequences of your words and actions, or are you blithely following someone else’s lead? What is more important to you: eat your cake now or have bread for your children and grandchildren in twenty years? We need to be asking ourselves and each other these questions. Everything we do has ramifications, and only a few of those are immediate.
This is one of those moments in history where big changes can happen. We have a choice to ignore it and cling to what we’ve always know. Or we can step up to the challenge and seek better things for ourselves and those around us. We can build a new Normal or bury ourselves in the comfort of the known. New doesn’t mean perfect, but it can mean better. What do you think? Where do you stand?
Grace, Peace, and a New Year of Possibilities to You!