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Let’s Emerge Better Than We Were Before

Toby Martin
May 27, 2021

In a year that has challenged conventional wisdom and the very bedrocks of our global society, it’s becoming de rigueur to mourn life before March 2020 and think of all the negative ways in which things have changed. While this certainly is grounded in the current reality of case spikes in many corners of the world and a serious case of COVID fatigue, it’s my view that we have an opportunity to reset and seize a victory from the jaws of defeat.

Let’s reflect on some good things. We’ve rallied as a country to keep more citizens alive than the dire predictions of 2020. (Remember the ventilator count per state?) The supply chain caught up with the need for PPE. And we managed to get vaccines released faster than anyone thought possible.

While there have been terrible losses on so many levels, we’ve also come together in new and different ways that can help us emerge better than before.

All of those new and different ways leads me to my requests for a few calls to “betterment:”

  1. Let’s start operating more equitably, for real this time. This pandemic has laid bare many systemic impacts that have been felt most acutely by our at-risk citizens from homelessness, disproportionate impacts on BIPOC-owned businesses, and so forth. Now that we have more evidence that these things are the norm, and not the exception, let’s use this information to filter new investments to help those most affected and tackle the challenges that are deeply engrained in our society.

  2. How about a better definition of health and wealth, one that’s centered on well-being? More important than ever before is how we treat mental health, as the pandemic has brought about a marked increase in depression fueled by isolation and loss. Our healthcare system is set up to treat physical issues, and we need to extend at least the same level of care to treating mental health issues. This also means we need to be aware that everyone we know is going through something we might not be aware of, and to treat them accordingly.

  3. This final one brings me to a BIG ask – let’s all start acting more empathetically and collectively since we’re all in it together, whatever IT is. In this case it’s a pandemic and recovery, but the same can apply to traffic (please), to allocation of other scarce resources like vaccines globally, or anything else. Resetting the dialog around all of the divisions we have should help us be more inclusive, respectful, and cohesive, which are the only ways to solve things like pandemics, racism, sexism, LGBTQIA+ bigotry, and similar pernicious woes that plague our world.

Maybe this is a saccharin-sweet idea and overly optimistic, but I like to think this is the converse of the ridiculously challenging time we’re still enduring, and reflects my hope in humanity recognizing that we can learn from this and change for the better. So how about we all agree to turn down the volume on the divisive rhetoric, mute the apps that feed the “us vs. them” mentality and get back to talking to each other. We might even find common ground.