As I reflect on the events of the past two years, and in particular the past two weeks, I am compelled to share concerns about the path that we as a community and a “civil society” appear to be stumbling along in a halting and uncertain manner, unclear about whether we are forging ahead or backtracking on advances made in recent decades. We must keep in mind our shared heritage, and the fact that what we are blessed to have in this area has been made possible by previous generations that built the foundation upon which our communities now stand.
We are all experiencing fatigue from our shared misery over the last two years. Unfortunately, we seem to be coming closer to a brink which will only make a bad situation much, much worse if social order continues to unravel.
I do not enjoy being cut off from social and family gatherings. I despise having to wear a mask which limits one’s ability to engage in open heartfelt conversations in public settings with friends and strangers alike who are doing the same in response to a shared social responsibility that we have to one another.
Having stated that, I also strongly dislike icy road conditions and blinding snowstorms. I despair over extreme heat that withers crops and gardens. I have suffered through and been exposed to miserable weather conditions when all I could do was hunker down like a drenched cat caught in a blinding rain, and wait hours on end for the storm to pass. Events like these, stifle the joy of living… and so has this pandemic. But live on and through it we must in anticipation that these circumstances will also pass.
Fortunately, through the united efforts of science, commerce, medicine and many social organizations who have been slogging in the trenches, we appear to be coming through this and may be in a position before long to look back from the other side of this tempest. In the meantime, we need to be patient and rise above the rhetoric and actions that are creating chasms which divide instead of building bridges that unite and strengthen a much needed sense of community where together we look out for one another in good times and bad, notwithstanding differences of opinions that exist.
Expressions of personal opinion and opposition to actions taken by others in authority, who are also struggling to navigate through uncharted waters in their efforts to improve long term outcomes for all, should be tempered to ensure there is room for all who share a common vision for a peaceful and prosperous community that works through difficult experiences together, supporting one another in times of adversity, both personal and shared. There is no situation no matter how bad it may be that cannot be made a lot worse by bad attitudes and intolerant behavior.
Yes, the right to openly express oneself, and if necessary to unite in peaceful demonstration, is a pillar of a just and civil society, but so are values of tolerance and respect. A community’s foundation is shaken to the core when we resort to measures that make a mockery of law and order, both which are essential for a healthy functioning community.
As citizens, during times like these we must keep the end in mind, which is a united sense of community that should prevail after we have emerged together from the difficulties we have all lived under and through during the past two years. This too shall pass. Let’s do our best to hang in there together so we can emerge as a stronger, supportive and mutually respectful community when this “storm” is over.