We’ve learned a lot these last couple weeks, since the coronavirus descended upon our cities and brought life as we knew it to a full stop.
Many of the things we’ve learned concern the effectiveness — or lack thereof — of our elected officials. And though this space is generally reserved for political opinion, right now our problems transcend the merely political. Instead they speak to something greater — a deeper understanding of what it means to be human, our responsibilities to the planet and to each other, the gaping vulnerabilities inherent in the way we live today. Or, the way we used to live. Now we’re all stuck in our homes, if we’re lucky.
The coronavirus dove directly through those vulnerabilities, almost as if it was deliberately thrown there. It created problems that cannot be gaslighted, fears too real to be denied. It’s not even something we can just throw money at — although this will be staggeringly expensive when all is said and done. Even that does not matter today. Our actions define the outcome. And the virus dictates the terms.
And so, at the most divided time in our nation, we must act as one. Togetherness becomes a weapon against an enemy such as this, one that does not discriminate by race or income, or even age; young people are dying, too.
To the virus, we are as unique as the ants in a colony.
We’re learning — or perhaps remembering — that the strong have an obligation to protect the weak. We’re learning that hard, observable fact is more useful than subjective opinion, and that not everybody is telling the truth, no matter how dangerous lies can be during a pandemic.
We’re observing in real time how greed can literally kill, or, at least, affect the toilet-paper supply.
And maybe, just maybe, we’re getting in touch with something as primal as the virus itself: our humanity.
Because that humanity that makes us susceptible to viral infections is the thing that will get us through to the other side.
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