How are you? Are you okay?
The Soapbox family is fine. We’re the lucky ones, we’re doing reasonably well under the circumstances. We check in with each other every day. We go for walks and play more board games than we’ve ever played before (I still suck at Rummikub). Emails, texts and phone calls keep us connected with friends and family. We’ve discovered Facetime is perfect for Scatagories or simply catching up over coffee.
But it’s not enough. We need our community.
When my sister in BC spends her free time sewing masks for my family and says she’ll leave the house for the first time in two weeks to take the package down to the local post office instead of leaving it in her rural mail box for pickup and delivery so we’ll get it quicker, I tear up.
When I walk the dog and meet someone coming the other way with his dog and we scramble to get away from each other, I understand but am saddened.
When I attend a board meeting by conference call and our chairman starts the meeting by saying it’s so nice to hear our voices, I’m moved.
Something has happened. Time slowed down. And we’ve learned a few things.
First and foremost, we now recognize the importance of every single member of our society, regardless of their position in the economic and social hierarchy.
Second, we know our local, provincial, and federal governments can move mountains in a very short space of time if they have to. It turns out there’s always enough money to do what’s right and decent.
Third, we understand that when this is over, we cannot go back to the old way of doing things. As the economist Armine Yalnizyan said, COVID-19 fast tracked the discussion of economic policies like universal basic income and modern monetary theory into the mainstream. The pandemic is changing the way we think about economic policy and how we implement it.
If we can tackle the fallout from a pandemic, then nothing is too big or too difficult to contemplate.
And you know what, the politicians can and will get it done…if they get a big push from the community. That must be our focus when we reached the other side of this tunnel.
Until then, how are you? Are you okay?