Right now, we are currently on the verge of so many possibilities. We are, as a nation, on the very precipice of change and possibility. This is indeed the end of what has been an historic and consequential year, the end of an unprecedented presidency that has challenged our national reputation, threatened our national security, and reignited many of our most historic racial and economic divisions. These racial, economic, and cultural divisions are not new to most of us. Because, in the meantime, while a few of us have been experiencing the type of growing wealth and prosperity that taps into the so-called “American Dreamscape” of being the most prosperous nation in the world, the majority of us have not. These people for whom, “the economy is all good for me”, are the types who are invested in the stock market and/or have been a part of the wealthy class for generations. They have consistently seen economic growth over the past several decades, whereas most Americans have not.
In the meantime, the middle class, in America, has been eroding for decades while simultaneously being key to America’s success. This is such a paradox. Most of us who are not wealthy, do not invest in the stock market, and do not have any disposable income, are increasingly having trouble just making ends meet. This was the unfortunate set of circumstances even before the ravages of the COVID economy were set in motion. The American economy has been experiencing a consistent decline, for most of us, for years now, and the type of inequalities that have been present in the soil of the American cultural landscape have only been exacerbated by our current circumstances. And yet, as we stand with ALL of our differences, and the desperate ways in which we engage in the various “states of reality” in these critical and historic moments; we continue to press on to the end of one decade and with great expectations for the new one we are entering. Our resiliency requires that we hope for the best with a vision and determination that allows us to believe that what is ahead must be better than what we leave behind.
The country is in a mess! The times we are navigating are serious and dangerous, with life and death consequences that we cannot ignore. Metaphorically speaking, if this country were a grocery store we would most assuredly need a massive clean-up on Aisle 45! But in the mean- time we are finding new and innovative ways of maintaining our humanity and living our lives as engaged citizens and supportive communities. We have taken the opportunity to recognize the people and services that are essential to all of us that we may have never recognized before. We have discovered new heroes and sheroes and have been forced to step up into roles and responsibilities that we never knew we could achieve. Our frontline workers have become so much more valued and important to us, and to our ability to maintain our lives, the lives of our children and our families. And while we have learned what we are truly capable of doing in hard times, we have also learned the things that we may never want to do again.
Due to the health and safety concerns of this global pandemic, we have been socially distant, isolated and unable to engage with one another in up close and personal ways. In the past 9 months, everything has changed. How we live together, learn together, worship together and engage with one another has changed, because we recognize how much we truly care for one another. The sacrifices have been enormous. We have been missing the experience of “live human contact”, and the personal touch of friends and loved ones. Many of us have been truly saddened by this. However, we are coming to know the things that are truly important to us like our health and safety, our family and friends, our ability to work, go to school, to provide food and shelter for loved ones, and to freely come and go. So, in the meantime, with hope and recognition, let us practice living life more simply and remembering the lessons this year has taught us.