The media-verse can be a dark place. Turn on cable news and you can watch the coronavirus ticker count off infections and related deaths across the globe. Our lives are now packed with stories about dwindling resources and tumbling stock markets. Everyone has reason to be nervous.
COVID-19 hit the planet like a nuclear bomb. It’s no surprise then when legislators liken this pandemic to a wartime event. And like the aftermath of 9/11 or World War II — times when our citizens were called to mobilize for the common good — we will rely on American ingenuity, compassion, unity, resilience and determination to pull us through.
Industries across the country have already pivoted, unasked, to help combat the coronavirus. Assembly lines that once produced vehicles now make ventilators. Distilleries have shifted from hooch to hand sanitizer. El Paso County residents, confined to their homes, have taken to their sewing machines to offer face masks for health care professionals already facing a shortage of protective equipment.
Visit a grocery store and you can see exhausted and underpaid employees working to keep supplies flowing, especially to the most vulnerable.
If you look, you’ll find stories about business owners forgoing pay to keep roofs over the heads of their employees. Teachers are scrambling to ensure students can still learn, even from home. Doctors, nurses, physician assistants and hospital techs — many are burning the midnight oil, and many more will join them in the coming days.
And while there is fear, there is also hope.
Even social media sites, often cesspools of negativity, have softened some. Neighborly posts offer help, and reports of anonymous acts of kindness (rolls of toilet paper left on doorsteps) have replaced some of the vitriol that had become commonplace online.
And as millions of Americans find themselves working from home, drafted into this war on a microscopic but mighty enemy, there has been a reconnection with family — time gained that was once lost to commutes, happy hours and black-tie affairs.
The irony is, while this is an isolating disease — one that separates us from family, from friends, and often forces sufferers to die alone — we have never needed each other more.
Yes, the news has been filled almost entirely with stories about the ways COVID-19 has ravaged our planet, our country and our community in just a few short months. It’s often hard to find a silver lining.
But Mayor John Suthers recently offered this during a news conference:
“This crisis is going to bring out a lot of good in a lot of people. As I said to my city employees on a virtual basis earlier in the day, the fact of the matter is, if we do this right, if we engage in the shared responsibility and the shared sacrifice that we all need to get through this as quickly as possible and with as least negative impact as possible, this can be our city’s finest hour.”
As Olympic City USA, we’ve had many fine hours. From the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fire recoveries to our surge of action after the Planned Parenthood and Focus on the Family shootings.
We’ve been here before. We’ve been here for each other before.
There’s no reason to believe we won’t rise together again.
Many see these as dark times, and by most accounts, they are. But everyone can do their part — even if that’s just staying home.