Have you tried “…infinite patience and never-ending persistence" yet?
Eleanor Roosevelt’s said this about her husband, and 32nd president of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt:
"Franklin's illness...gave him strength and courage he had not had before. He had to think out the fundamentals of living and learn the greatest of all lessons - infinite patience and never ending persistence."
It’s a tall order but as we collectively crave certainty or perhaps ways to alleviate a nagging sense of powerlessness, putting ourselves in FDR’s mindset might get us through week N in Quarantine 2020 and the weeks that will follow.
Socially distancing has taken on new meaning.
Though #wereallinthistogether, it appears that, like the most recent U.S. presidential election, the divisiveness on how we approach solutions to systemic problems is stark and regularly fueled by fear and misinformation.
Full disclosure: I have mixed feelings about social media. I love being able to stay in touch with extended family and friends, and, with Mixolo, I feel compelled to share updates, but lately….is it just me noticing that people are seeking to find some power in their point of view MORE THAN EVER? Are you finding yourself blocking more of your “friends” or family?
Virtual can be good. It might be the primary connection to the outside world for many of us right now. With the advent of COVID-19, whether directly or indirectly affected by it, we are being challenged to “think out the fundamentals of living” yet again. Some are grappling with the unknown with grace or maybe your BFF you thought you knew is unwittingly promoting anarchy on Instagram.
Can we all just get along? Really?
Most people feel that someone or something must be sacrificed for some greater good in these complicated times. Unfortunately, there are conflicting views of what that greater good looks like.
Fundamentally, any of us with presence of mind, pretty much wants the same things, no matter how our angst manifests on Facebook or Twitter or at an anti-whatever protest. We want safety for ourselves and our loved ones and a sense of belonging. The powerlessness, or perhaps resentment of others, many of us may feel right now likely comes from the lack of one or more of those things. The manner (or platform) by which we search for relief is a very personal choice. Unfortunately, the “pandemic” of algorithms solidifying our differences and clustering us in bubbles and affinity groups continues to spread.
When in doubt, look to history for inspiration - or lessons.
You may recall that President Roosevelt was stricken with polio at age 39; yet even in ill health and partially paralyzed, he was elected to four terms – before the 22nd Amendment to the Constitution, of course, that limits presidential terms. During the polio epidemic (that went on for years - much longer than the current pandemic likely will) and later, during FDR’s time shepherding the U.S. through the Great Depression, some of the greater good measures enacted by Government clashed with individual rights (intermingled with the rights of corporations with the 14th Amendment).
In hindsight, some view FDR as too liberal, or now, “A liberal,” depending on their political viewpoint. Leaders and history are complicated. One might see him differently, once learning of his sanction of the imprisonment of people of Japanese descent following the Pearl Harbor attack. We’ve shuffled through several political ideologies as a relatively new country much like we have philosophies like egoism, altruism, and utilitarianism, depending on the world order at the time.
When we are faced with seemingly untenable circumstances, there is no singular perfect solution, but every solution, particularly the reactive ones, will have some negative consequences. A rapid response is sometimes the only way to alleviate immediate pain, but even in the face of uncertainty, a thoughtful, collective approach may also help reduce the recurrence of pain. Many of FDR’s policies remain part of our collective consciousness and expectations today.
When the greater good feels not great…
To save as many lives as possible, the first industries to be “sacrificed” in the greater good measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 were hospitality and arts and entertainment venues and purveyors, which includes Mixolo. However, the fallout and impact on other for-profit industries, including many mega-corps, not to mention critical not-for-profit community service providers, is becoming more evident.
Even those in “safe” fields or jobs may be feeling uncomfortable with a ripple effect as we experience the second wave of job losses in the economic downturn from the COVID-19 restrictions.
The Great Depression also threatened the entire economy. The New Deal that emerged is now being challenged, or validated, depending on your view. After the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, more commonly referred to as the 2008 bailout, some companies formerly viewed as predatory now regularly look for support originally perceived as handouts for less capitalized people and entities.
A Brave New World with ???? in it?
We are in a defining moment and we are being forced to re-examine how we collectively define the greater good. We are more keenly aware of the inextricable connections, locally and globally, that affect our personal wellbeing and livelihoods. The new front-line worker whether in health care or those who keep us supplied with food or safe shelter is being humanized and heralded like never before.
Our view of what constitutes a safety net for ourselves is evolving. As a result, we are more aware of the significance of a greater good that incorporates and affords empathy for individual freedoms without a sacrificial “other.” If we are sacrificing another’s safety for our own, are we really safe?
It turns out that most of us feel that people, businesses and community-centric organizations need to be supported, not just sacrificed, for a greater good not solely aligned with the interests of a few.
The new economy that will emerge from this setback remains a mystery, however, we can agree that it will be very different. Our expectations of social interactions and cleanliness will change. We’ll re-imagine a health care system that can manage and reduce casualties and enable us to re-open at a faster rate minimizing disruption, or perhaps STAY open, when the next disaster occurs. Food security is now synonymous with national security.
Even at our worst, bickering over who is worthy or unworthy of assistance, and piping on all the stuff we’re still terrible at, we are better equipped than we’ve ever been to triumph over COVID-19 - eventually, with infinite patience and never-ending persistence.
Thanks for stopping in! We hope you'll stay in touch while Mixolo is on hiatus. We hope to resurface in the brave new world better than before. Be sure to check in on our growing list of quarantine connections for ways to to have fun and stay centered during this time.