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EDITORIAL: ‘Better angels’ needed now

EDITORIAL: ‘Better angels’ needed now

Last Sunday on this page, regular contributor Stephen Knight made some observations on how his town is faring under the unprecedented conditions of the coronavirus crisis. He was writing as a former Wallingford town councilor, but we like to think that his thoughts — about “how our sense of community kicks in when we learn of another's misfortune” — also apply to our other local communities, the state and nation.

Knight’s main point was that “a negative attitude finds problems, while a positive attitude finds solutions.” We could surely use some solutions right about now.

While some of us can recall our parents’ or grandparents’ accounts of shortages and rationing during World War II, the present closure of so many small businesses has hit people hard, leaving many families without their regular income for an unknown period of time. We hear that help will be coming from the federal government, but we don’t know how much and we don’t know when.

Knight went on to make three suggestions that could be helpful to all of us in this crisis. To summarize:​​​​​​

■1. Enough with the carping and whining about who is or isn’t doing what. Our local people are doing their level best to cope with this disaster. Even our politicians in Washington are behaving, pretty much. So, just for once, let’s “cut everyone some slack” if they are at least trying.■2. Let those of us, who are able, think of our neighbors who’ve been hit hard by the crisis. We could buy a gift card or two, to be redeemed after the emergency, from a local restaurant that’s been forced to close. We could check on our elderly neighbors.■3. Stay positive. “When we stay positive, we will come up with solutions to help our neighbors through this,” Knight wrote, and after a time we will emerge as an even stronger community, town and nation.

We believe that Knight is right about Wallingford and also about all our communities. Just like the generation that went through World War II, we are in this for the duration.

And just as President Lincoln said, on the verge of another war, we should look for guidance to “the better angels of our nature.”