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Been a while...
I’ve been finding it hard to post lately, as you might surmise from the time lag since my last entry. In the main, I feel so fortunate and so grateful for life, health and the situation that I find myself in, that it feels unseemly to talk about all of that amidst so much suffering. And then reminders of the preciousness of life more rudely intervene, most recently with the news of the death of a life long friend. He, his brother and I were tight from the time we were first graders and spent most of our teens and 20’s together, bonded to each other as well as to their parents who I loved like my own and who loved me as one of theirs…gone as well for some time now. In the rarest of friendships we and three others from the same era kept our friendships alive and never allowed time and distance to get the better of us…but where we were once 6 now 4 remain, the least likely going first, a runner who never drank, smoked or ate red meat gone now for 5 years.
All of this forces me to think about legacy…not only my own but that of my entire generation. We who were so lucky to be born in this time of unparalleled prosperity and peace, a time where doors to opportunity were opened wide to us regardless of faith, ethnicity, religious or economic background (if you were white that is)…what have we done with all of it? Sadly, the answer that I see is that we used most if not all of that advantage and most of our imagination to find ways to keep as much of the benefit to ourselves. From economic inequality to climate the evidence is substantial and there are times I really can’t look my own kids in the face.
My son and I were recently watching the excellent 2 part series on Laurel Canyon recently show on Epix in the US, about the music scene of that era. While we looked back at how music and our passions of that time were about changing the world for the better through peace, love and understanding my son looked at me and asked “What happened? How did all of this energy of your generation for things so basic and important get lost?” Given that the majority of my demographic are Trump supporters I was at a loss to disagree with his premise.
And yet here we are…in the midst of the greatest challenge that we have ever faced; a still rampant pandemic claiming over 1,000 US lives a day that is causing an economic collapse not seen since the depression and leadership that at best confuses the essential messages that can help to combat and mitigate the illness and worse engages in magical thinking that only encourages behavior that increases collective risk. Vietnam a country of over 100M people has had 34 deaths out of a total of just over 1,000 total cases! How? By properly managing science based essential information…using everything from Tik Tok videos to TV, print and billboards…There is no confusion in the messaging and solidarity in the response.
The US has done this before - AIDS, SARS, Ebola, all were mitigated and managed through the same kind of approach…but not this time and the role and responsibility of leadership in how this has happened is as clear as it can be. And of course the response to this line of thought from our Celebrity Apprentice President is to evade, deflect, avoid, blame and lie as often as necessary.
To defeat and or mitigate this disease requires solidarity. To confront and restore faith in our country will require that we deal with issues of economic inequality and systemic racism that have for too long been either denied, ignored or given lip service and half-measured responses. To confront and begin to resolve those difficult issues, which thanks to the pandemic are now unavoidable, will only be accomplished through a level of solidarity that seems at present a far off dream. But as hard as it may seem, we have no choice…we need to come together and treat each other as brothers and sisters who may have differences of opinion but are not tribal enemies. Every day in every way possible our Celebrity Apprentice President makes this challenge more formidable as he sows chaos, division and hate in his desperate bid to hold on to power and more than likely avoid criminal prosecution. God help us if the legacy of my generation is that we had the chance to get one of the worst of us out of office and we chose not to. As they say, history will not be kind… We have a choice and our future depends on getting it right and getting him out.