It didn't seem appropriate or even useful to write another WFH note with all that's happening in our streets this past week. Living in Capitol Hill, the George Floyd protests have become a part of daily life. I watched in horror as tear gas and flash bangs were set off in the crowd of protesters, who had refused to disperse. It feels like the world once again edged up to the brink. Fortunately, it seems calmer heads have prevailed and, perhaps, in some places, we're starting to see the sprouts of progress emerge.
I don't profess to have the answers or world-changing insights, but a few things struck me about the events of this past week and I'd like to share them.
We’re all in this together. At the beginning of the Covid-19 shutdowns, it seemed pretty clear that the actions of one had a clear impact on the other. As time wore on and states charted their own ways forward, the timing and scope of re-opening became politicized. It descended into the familiar pattern of us against them. With the protests in the wake of George Floyd, it appeared we were heading for more. But a remarkable thing happened. People engaged.
Life is messy and big issues take time to resolve. It’s our nature to look for quick solutions and Pollyanna politicians are too ready to seek out the superficial fix. Covid and persistent racial bias are too big and complex to lend themselves to easy resolution. They will require commitment, perseverance and vigilance. I’m not saying we should shy away. Quite the contrary. The big issues are the ones we should prioritize and not avoid because they are messy and take time.
Each and every one of us can create change. I was awed as I took in the scenes of the mostly peaceful protests spread across the country. It was humbling to look upon the faces — all ethnicities and ages — assembled for the seventh day of protests. They raised their voices together in exercise of our constitutional freedoms of speech and assembly to push for change. I know we’ve seen this movie before but maybe the earlier protests laid the groundwork. It’s too early to tell how this will end but in some states and cities, reforms are being discussed. And it’s very likely this movement will carry on into the elections in November.
Change is certainly in the air. We can sit idly by or we can contribute to the process.
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