Day 20: the collective, the enforcer

Welcome to our brand new world! In a matter of weeks a country of over 300 million people of all shapes, sizes, colors, and belief systems has put itself on lockdown.

(Mostly.)

While a giant Cheeto tries to sell malaria drugs from his pulpit, local officials and individuals enforce the greatest national feat that I have ever seen. We have sacrificed money, convenience, visits from friends and family, in some cases a lifetime’s work and life itself. And we did it from the bottom up. Before it was mandated: non-essential businesses started shutting down and employees started working from home. The lockdown has swept the country at an astonishing speed, moving almost faster than the government can keep up.

What is it that keeps most of this country inside? Maybe the law. Maybe we’re scared for ourselves. But, I think most of us stay inside because it is our social responsibility. Very quickly we have established a new cultural, ethical standard: if you put yourself at risk you put others at risk. Get on board, or go home (<==joke? lol).

The thing is: if we can do this–if we can slow a global pandemic by enlisting every person to do her part–why can’t we protect kids from school shootings? Why can’t we end mass incarceration? Why can’t we stall oil pipelines? (Here’s a link to petition/donations to stop KXL which has been deemed “essential business” by Homeland Security.)

In this moment we can see: each of us has power. Each of us has responsibility to the other. And each of us has the capacity for great sacrifice. When this is all over we’ll have a chance to build something new. And if all we try to do is claw our way back to what was, we should be ashamed of ourselves.

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