OPINION: There’s still time to turn 2020 around

OPINION: There’s still time to turn 2020 around

So, I got my hair cut the other day. It was about as early as it could be as far as being allowed to go to the barber was concerned, even though I didn’t need it. My significant other had cut my hair a few weeks ago, and she did such a nice job I felt maybe I wouldn’t need a barber any longer. It was one of those reevaluating recognitions I suspect we’ll be going through a lot of as the world reawakens from its virus-induced sleep.

But I wanted to show support. The trip to the barber followed my first visit to a restaurant, sitting out in the patio, practicing social distancing. It’s weird how not weird it feels, how quickly you can adapt, and it feels good to take even a small step in helping a local business get back on its feet.

There have been many tales of small things, of little differences being made that show how people want to help, to make a difference. It’s a natural inclination. The pandemic is such a big thing; we’re just trying to make our way in the world. So the fellow who plays the organ at Fenway Park now offers streaming concerts for those who hunger for the “feeling” of being at a game. So food service workers continue to distribute meals to students while schools are closed, as in over the Memorial Day weekend when Meriden Public School cafeterias distributed more than 4,000 bags of food, each bag with breakfast and lunch for four days. What a huge difference that effort, small in the grand scope of things, makes.

Add those involved to the growing list of heroes, which, of course, include health-care workers and first responders and others we typically associate with heroic efforts, but also those we may not, or at least haven’t until this moment: as in those who work in grocery stores and pharmacies. The brighter spirit of humanity is everywhere even as the clouds of dark times continue to gather.

Activities like dining out and haircuts won’t be all that difficult to return to, but others are likely to take a lot longer. Social distancing and grand opera don’t mix was an observation offered with the recent announcement of a truncated Met Opera season., The same can be said for athletic events, like baseball games, and concerts and anything that draws a crowd.

How about social distancing and protesting?

Health experts have observed with alarm the protest gatherings that have sprung up across the country, and the world, over the death of George Floyd. The worry is that it will lead to a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, which obviously nobody wants.

But there has been something fundamental going on with the protests across the nation and the world. Racism is a plague, too.

There’s a meme that has been going around social media, an image from the “Back to the Future” films of the 80s, with Doc and Marty McFly and the DeLorean time machine, and the warning: Don’t ever set it to 2020.

What can you do but laugh at something like that? I thought time was supposed to speed up as you got older, but 2020 has been the longest year of my life, and we’re not even half-way through.

But look at it this way: 2020 is already destined for notoriety in the history books; there’s still more than a half a year to shape that history.

The nation has yet to live up to its Declaration of Independence assertion that all are created equal. We still have a long way to go. Like battling a pandemic, it’s a matter of taking steps. Many are small steps, but an election year offers the opportunity to take a big one.

It’s an opportunity to reject racism at the ballot box. This just happened in Iowa, where Steve King just lost a Republican primary, and it should happen at every level you can shake a vote at, from the top of the national government to your state rep to your local dog catcher.

What an opportunity to make 2020 a year to remember with pride.

Reach Jeffery Kurz at 203-317-2213, or jkurz@record-journal.com.

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