People are being forced to do some deep soul searching when they look at their families, their careers, and their personal lives. As a society, we are being forced to look at the social, economic, and governmental weaknesses that most of us have been willing to overlook because they haven't appeared to directly affect us until now. As with all disasters, we've seen both the best and the worst of humanity, but it's the best in humanity that is getting us through and keeping us from slipping into the worst case scenario of our fictional nightmares.
When we consider the needs of the least of these, when we seek to improve the situation for the most vulnerable among us, we demonstrate a clear understanding of the interconnected nature of humanity. And in working to make the lives of others better, we create a safety net for ourselves should we ever be knocked off of our own feet. We are at a crossroads, people questioning an overhaul of the entire system. I would argue that we don't need to turn the Constitution upside down. But we can't leave people outside in the cold just because we see it as benefiting our immediate self-interests. It's time we start thinking long term, considering the human cost, and finding a better way.
Meaningful change always starts when we seek to understand those who are different from us, in beliefs, experiences, and perspectives. I believe it is worth the effort, a way to break up the tribalism that haunts every corner of American society. I don't want to see what we will become if we don't try.
But lately I've been feeling a little like the future imagined in some of my favorite dystopian stories are hitting a little too close to home. I try to convince myself that I'm being hyperbolic, that two plus two is still four, that books are still being read and are powerful, that we are still a free people allowed to make our own decisions and living in a country where outside dangers are statistically few and far between. I understand that we are all human and have to live with the decisions of others and that I can only do so much.
Perhaps if we refuse to accept the idea that people and issues are more complicated than "either/or," we will be willing to challenge our friends, family, neighbors, and politicians to stop making it about us vs. them and just make it about all of us.