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Madrid day 3
Lockdown diary day 4...
Today was my first venture outside to go food shopping. Empty streets somehow became a source of comfort because it meant that people were taking this seriously. Thomas Friedman in today's NYT talked about cultural differences and their impact from country to country. Here in Madrid I can see it and feel it. In "normal" times the politics here are fractious and noisy with 5 parties vying for power from extremes to centrists on both sides. The ruling national party is center left, and the local ruling party center right. Then there's the issue of Catalonia and independence. But now, all of that is on hold...all of the parties, including the extreme right and left are all behind the government's declared State of Alarm and are presenting a unified front. There is also a sense at the individual level, that there is a duty not just to comply but to do the right thing out of service to others. Since the time of the State of Alarm, law enforcement has said that there have been next to no arrests and very few fines. This is not to say that all is perfect...these times involve making decisions that choose the terrible over the horrific. People who have to work are free to get there, and there was great unrest over the fact that with a reduction in metro service, people were crowded into trains, while at the same time two people in a car is prohibited. But again, we cannot let the perfect be the enemy of the good and many choices will have far from perfect consequences. So with all of that, the spirit of the place feels solid. As you may have read, at 8p people open their windows and applaud in tribute to all who are working to help...from health care providers to the folks that help keep the food chain vital and alive...and the clapping just goes on. We haven't yet copied the Italians with group singing, but given how long this might go on, we may go one further with balcony flamenco.
As I read endlessly of the goings on in the US I still sadly get the sense that the message is just barely getting through. For every Dr Sanjay Gupta there's a Dr. Drew and the politics of this, given an election in the offing will, I fear, never get to a place of "one for all". I continue to hope and pray for the best but remain very concerned that the failures in leadership and polarized view of everything will have serious consequences unless somehow this gets led "bottom up" one person at a time. So again, if you can, lead by example and #stayhome.