Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities begins, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times….” Isn’t that always the truth? The back half of that opener has never been more apparent than today. The following is not a political statement, only a personal reflection.
- COVID-19 infected 1.7 million in America, killing 103,000 as of June 1, 2020 per CDC.
- Our distressed economy now has 40,000,000 who have filed for unemployment.
- Some citizens have demonstrated to “reopen our economy and restore freedoms.”
- A handcuffed African American man died under the knee of a police officer.
- During a citizen’s arrest, an unarmed African American is shot to death.
- A white woman calls police when a black man asks her to leash her dog.
- George Floyd demonstrations turn into violent riots in several American cities.
- National Guard troops are deployed across the nation, in at least 16 states.
- As of May 31, at least four people have died in demonstrations and rioting.
- Property losses, while quite secondary to loss of life, mount into the billions.
Given the above, how do we face each day? A comic asserted the astronauts picked a good time to leave the planet Saturday. So, now what? I can’t speak for you, but I can take action myself.
First, to safeguard against COVID-19 I will mask, distance, and wash. This will demonstrate my concern for you and protect me. Some are confident the disease has diminished and we can go back to “normal.” I liken it to remission of lung cancer; you don’t restart smoking. Safety first!
Second, I will actively work to avoid societal assumptions such as using ethnicity and race as descriptors. People are people, not a black man, Hispanic woman, African American. It is my responsibility to hear the words of demonstrators. Failure to listen exacerbates the frustration.
Third, I do believe in the maxim “it’s not my fault, but I am responsible.” George Floyd didn’t die at my hand but I have a responsibility in his death. At this time, I don’t know how to address the situation, but I know it is my charge. Perhaps it is as simple as trying to understand.
This is not a political statement. We share the planet with far more good people than bad. It’s time that caring, concern, empathy, and humanity come forward. Personally, doing nothing is not an option. Let’s work on the other half of the Dickens’s line, “It was the best of times…”