No social media debates will fix the current devastation our country is facing. We experienced an unprecedented time of prosperity for some but also excess and a decline in the prospects of very many. We are being tried, as great generations before us were. I pray that we rise to the occasion.
We face a poorly understood "novel" virus that has caused us to alter our behavior in challenging ways. Keeping us distant from loved ones at times, limiting our travel, hurling us into new roles as parent-educators, requiring essential workers to take risks to keep us running.
Our society feels as if it is fraying at the seams. We have never been more polarized, communicating in disrespectful ways, painting our foes in reductionist terms, all nuance evaporated while we retreat to our little camps.
Our black and brown family members, friends, co-workers, and neighbors in many cities feel fear on a daily basis. They say they are living a different reality. The officers who violated their oaths to serve and protect terrorized them. They are crying out for justice and change. Violent individuals who crave a further breakdown in our civil society are infiltrating peaceful protests and seeking to pervert their just cause.
We shut down our economy to flatten the curve of the virus. Now, we face an unprecedented financial depression. In my opinion, it is exacerbated because the hard lessons that were meant to happen in the last great recession didn't fully occur, and no matter now much money the federal reserve creates out of thin air, it will not immediately bring back the jobs that were lost. The stock market seems disconnected from economic reality. Companies, families, and our country are burdened with a record amount of debt.
We have not yet learned as a society the hard lessons that unfettered consumption of consumer goods, natural resources, and the very planet itself are not what we "need". The promise of globalization, automation and progress was better and more plentiful jobs, but that didn't get realized for many. Our culture lost track of the idea that work itself for money is not a singular purpose of life. Frankly our culture forgot our priorities of serving a higher purpose and serving one another. I worry for those who struggle just to get by. Racism was tolerated among us and in the ranks of our police officers in many cities. In some communities we've tolerated murderers instead of peace officers. Yet I am grateful to live in a community where I believe we have peace officers who protect and serve, who have a culture of community policing and who strive to hire the best candidates and constantly improve. We cannot take that for granted, and we need to listen to constant community feedback and pay close attention.
No matter your religion, or if you have one, I think we can all use this moment of challenge to reflect and if you wish, to pray. Prayer is not enough, but it is a first step. It is what I do when I feel lost and sad. I pray to G-d for healing for our nation, for space for people to heal, and for justice. I pray that we will see the humanity in our neighbors and learn that our shared humanity is greater than our differences. I pray that we will heal physically and mentally from the coronavirus. I pray that we will no longer tolerate racism. I pray that the violence will end. I pray that true justice will be served and that the officers who broke their oaths will face the consequences of their actions. I pray for the good peace officers who show up daily to protect and serve their communities. Finally, I pray that we will use these challenges to identify what truly matters and come out on the other side of these tests a stronger, more cohesive, and more loving nation.