Pinch of Salt Graphic (English)

I’ve spent the last half hour banging my head against the wall in my home office/spare bedroom/sewing room/computer center/storage area trying to come up with something positive to write about.

I know I’m past tired of the relentless drumbeat of COVID-19 updates, systemic racism, deaths of minorities at the hands of police, economic apocalypse and the fight between players and owners of Major League Baseball.

I understand what masks are supposed to do and don’t really need hourly reminders to put one on when I climb out the window to escape social isolation. I can measure 6 feet in my sleep, and now walk around looking for pieces of tape or something more professional to stand on while in line.

There has to be something good coming out of all this, right? There’s little doubt we humans can learn a lesson or three from the current disasters, correct?

You know, gentle reader, that I am a blind optimist — at least when I’m not being a cynical curmudgeon. So I’m going to show you all the positive things I see in our current situation.

Let’s start with the issue that could have the most far-reaching impact. That would be the sudden nationwide, even worldwide, focus on the systemic racism the Blacks and other minorities have faced in the last several centuries.

There are many theories why, but it would appear this latest attempt to right the wrongs of our ancestors — and our own — appears to have taken root and is growing.

Why should this be any different, or more successful, than the efforts during the civil rights movement of the 1960s or the reforms attempted after the Rodney King conflagrations? In particular, it’s going to be tough to top the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act.

The silver lining I see today is the honesty and willingness to change in our white population. I listen to our leaders and hope against hope that I’m hearing more than lip service in the commitment to change — not just laws, but attitudes as well.

The cynic in me says we’ve seen it all before, and there’s little chance the privileged in our society will help others reach their level, let alone give up what they have.

But the optimist counters there weren’t the numbers of whites joining the protests and demonstrations before. And our society had not been through the seismic shifts of attitude towards the LGBTQ community, women in the workplace, and yes, even different religions.

An honest change of heart in racial relations seems possible today. I know this movement isn’t going to suddenly fill the hearts of our more conservative (read redneck) friends with love, but I can hope to see the balance shifting as it has in so many other issues.

Let me talk briefly about the coronavirus pandemic and the directly related economic collapse.

I’m really old. Maybe not really, really old, but old enough to have seen a few things.

And I’ve never seen anything close to what we’ve been through in the last three months — and apparently are going to continue for a few more in one form or another.

Shutting down the world in an attempt to combat an illness is something I couldn’t imagine even six months ago. Yet somehow the medical experts convinced the political leaders that isolation was the only tool available. Considering the number of deaths and the ease with which this virus spreads, they might have been right.

But the price paid was and continues to be steep. Families, companies, entire states have been plunged into debt. Many look to the future and see nothing but more pain.

So where’s the silver lining? Again, it is the people involved. Not just the medical heroes, either. The way people have stepped up to help their neighbors, even people they don’t know and likely never will, is inspiring.

The parable of the Good Samaritan has played out over and over again. Remember the Great Commission? Love others as you love yourself. I see that happening again and again — and that’s a silver lining indeed.

Harry has been executive editor of Gazette Newspapers for more than 26 years. He has been in the newspaper business for more than 35 years, with experience on both weekly and metropolitan daily papers in Colorado and California.

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