Even though we are only half-way through the year, many of us would agree that 2020 is a year of trauma. The coronavirus virus has shaken and damaged the world as we know it. While some parts of the world gradually “re-open”, we are still trying to re-adjust and adapt to a new yet unsteady way of being.
We seem to have fast forwarded time. 2019 seems to belong to the “good old days” and now everything has fallen apart.
As the pandemic reveals several fundamental faults of our systems, more and more people are going to the street to protest against racism and violation of human rights. Ideological clashes are everywhere, and those appear on our social media feeds can be more severe.
While we must continue to follow physical distancing guidelines, we shall not use it as an excuse to further engage in mindless “online activism”.
Resist that urge to retweet an empty motivational or political statement.
Do not give in to peer pressure to thoughtlessly say things like “we need to do better”.
Do not start a “heated debate” over on social media.
Ask ourselves, before we click that button, if the actions are simply self-congratulatory. Keep in mind that having access to reliable high-speed internet is also a privilege all by itself.
The world has changed considerably within the last few months. There is no “normal” to go back to and it is up to all of us to re-create the community life the way we wanted it – not the way as confined by the available technologies. Right now, we need meaningful conversations with the people around us more than ever. To do this we must first turn inwards to better understand ourselves – know what we know and what we do not know. When conversing with others, we must commit in being both truthful and civil – always stand up against misconception and prejudice but also respect our differences. The process of reconciliation will require a lot of difficult conversations but be patient and persistent. Changes will be slow, but they will come.
The Civil Conservation Projects recently published a “Better Conversations Guide” that help those who plan to organize semi-formal group discussions. The NPR’s special series “Civility Wars” also contains lots of resources and stories on how people navigate between political and personal lives. Stay well, and keep the conversations going.