By Fletcher Allen, Opinion
It’s unprecedented, it’s a once in a lifetime event and it’s not going away anytime soon.
These are the platitudes that have been thrown around and they don’t really mean anything substantial.
In many ways, the virus hasn’t affected me at all. I’ve been able to hole up in my room and watch the world burn around me. But, because of the privilege that enables me to do that, I’ve had time to reflect on my place in the world.
Isolation has reminded me of how fragile and temporary life really is. I’ve recognized that if you want to do something with yourself or the community around you, it is not enough to cover your social media in how you feel, you have to go out and do.
Watching American citizens let their anguished cries be heard as they protest police brutality during the worst health pandemic in 100 years has taught me a few things as well.
While American citizens may feel powerless and ignored by our political “leaders,” that is not the case.
As a collective body coming together, we can change the course of societal dialogue and history itself. The Black Lives Matter movement is a beautiful example of that. If we let ourselves hang our heads and be silent, our political “leaders” have shown us they will do nothing. But, if we raise our voices collectively, they have no choice but to listen.
On the same note, this international crisis has laid bare the problems this country needs to reckon with moving forward: systematic issues of race, inequality, economy, political “leadership” and trust in mass media — just to name a few.
As Americans, we have allowed ourselves to become dulled to these harsh truths by way of information overload from an infinite amount of media sources. Twenty four hour media outlets cram whatever problems fit their agenda down their listeners’ throats until they become completely desensitized and disenchanted to all problems.
If there is anything positive that has come out of this pandemic, it is the fact that Americans all over this country are reexamining their values and who they trust for reliable information.
The amount of problems that have been bubbling up have come together to create a perfect storm that is rattling citizens to their core, leading to people standing up and saying enough.
Deaths from COVID-19 have now moved into the hundreds of thousands. And now, fear of contracting COVID combined with record unemployment numbers and a faltering economy have all led to the quagmire we are currently facing.
The festering systemic issues would’ve come to a head on their own, but this multitude of tension has forced those in America to look deep into the mirror like never before.
With everything now laid bare, Americans are ready for change and willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen.