Do you remember the angst leading up to the year 2000? Not only was it the turning of a century, but it was also the dawn of a new millennium. While the transition received a cute nickname — Y2K — some people and groups thought the world would end. It wasn’t clear if computers, and all of the interconnected infrastructure, would fail or go haywire with the date change. Apparently, there was some basis for concern. Computer clock glitches did require software upgrades to fix.
And then, the New Year appeared — and nothing unusual happened. [Although if you recall subsequent events: there was the whole “hanging chad” ballot issue in Florida later that year, so the Supreme Court got involved with a decision that paved the way for choosing the new US President. And, then the next September with the fateful 911 attacks… Maybe there was more to Y2K than we give credit.]
In the lead-up to the 2020 election, there was a similar apocalyptic feel: Be very afraid. A new virus was running rampant. And not just the US President, who was inciting dissention and spewing disinformation. POTUS sidelined expert opinion, dismissed the severity of the illness caused by the virus, and confused the situation while people suffered. Mixed messages multiplied worries. Is the virus worse than the collateral economic damage? Is it a conspiracy or a hoax? Will it magically disappear in warm weather, with a bleach infusion, or if we jump over a fire backwards during a full moon? Wear a mask; wash your hand; stay away. Or not. If it’s a prank, why are so many people getting sick or dying? Are they faking? The real apocalypse wasn’t just the retail stampede for toilet tissue, hand sanitizer, and cleaning wipes, but the attempts to influence followers to distrust and hate. This virus has had some nasty side-effects.
As I expect most of you did, I voted my values in the recent election. While we don’t usually talk about values, since they tend to operate covertly, they influence our actions. Who and what are most important to you? Understanding how you feel and knowing what you believe provide your own personal North Star guidance system. You might think of it as a touchstone: this is what I consider right and wrong. Or a mirror: who we vote for reflects who we are. We see ourselves in a candidate’s behavior and rhetoric. [Should I shop or shoot on 5th Avenue?]
We define ourselves and look at others on the basis of:
- Identity: Who are you?
- Ideology: What do you believe?
- Engagement: How do you walk your talk?
Actions demonstrate beliefs.
Despite apocalyptic prophecies, the world hasn’t ended. Armed militia didn’t take hostages at polling places. Checks and balances have taken a beating, but the wounds don’t seem mortal. And although the incumbent is still resisting, in denial, and launching legal challenges (aided by loyal henchman), it appears the center will hold. The country has chosen a new leader. It’s time to ask: How can we miss you if you won’t go away. Let’s remove the fecal blockage and treat the lingering infection. A new age is dawning with a new sheriff in town.
With hopes for healing, we can disagree without disliking, debate without disparaging. Interactions shouldn’t be a determination of whether someone is for us or against us. It’s not about winning and losing. Rather, it can be about listening and trying to understand another person’s perspective. What’s important to remember: we’re all in this together.
© Joan S Grey, 13 NOV 2020 ∞
IndexCardCure™: Going forward: cohesion over contamination