Opinions: Society should embrace care

Austin Belet, Opinions Editor

They say in all circumstances there is a silver lining to be found. 

2020 has not proved to be a fun year for anyone – Not for the professors who had to shift their entire focus into online courses, not for workers who had to start figuring out how to do their jobs at home, and not for the citizens just waiting to find the next steps in extremely uncertain times. 

This country has not experienced conditions that we are experiencing today in nearly a century, but we have had to face blow after blow within a several month span. The question now is: What is the new normal?

Companies, such as Twitter, have begun to realize the tremendous potential of allowing workers to stay home, so are we now liable to see more remote working options for our labor force? 

The reality is that working from home had revealed in a widespread way the hidden benefits of working from home. Environmental costs, for example, of commuting to work have been reduced simply because the commute is non-existent. Employees also maintain a greater level of flexibility with their workweek while still maintaining, if not improving, productivity.

When we consider those in the workforce who are incapable of performing their jobs in a remote setting, they are having to cope with rigorous standards of cleanliness and trying to maintain recommended guidelines to protect their customers- all this in the face of ridiculous demonstrations from those who feel that being mandated to wear a mask “infringes on their rights.” 

Once we do finally get the opportunity to open the world once again, it will be with different standards. People are going to be more conscious about sanitation and the distance they keep with people. COVID will be something to be trepidatious of, for a while, before it makes its way into the history books with the likes of smallpox and the spanish flu.

This pandemic has also allowed our country to open its eyes to some of the more unsavory aspects of our society. Between government officials who have demonstrated severe negligence as it pertains to public health, one of the biggest civil rights movements in recent history, and a litany of conspiracies surrounding every aspect of the global pandemic, society has shown its colors. 

There is inevitable growth that comes from this, but not without a difficult growing period as well. 

For starters, citizens need to bear more responsibility on their own accord for the well being of their community. Sometimes this is as simple as wearing a mask when grocery shopping, but other times it means doing the hard work for yourself to get a different perspective on otherwise difficult issues. 

Elected officials need to be held accountable for allowing peaceful protestors to be arrested and detained by unmarked law enforcement personnel. State governments need to be held accountable for trying to reopen schools far too soon- especially in a state like Florida where we never actually existed the first wave and continued to operate “business as usual.” 

My biggest hope is that we as a community can embrace care as we find our way out of the pandemic. I hope we can embrace care so that we can meter our opening without endangering our citizens instead of trying to push the narrative that it “isn’t that bad.” I hope we can embrace care during this time so that there is a unified front trying to end this virus. I hope we can embrace care in the face of the Black Lives Matter protests so that we may be able to institute meaningful change to our law enforcement community. 

Of course there is no simple solution to the trainwreck that has been this year, but if there is one thing I think we can take from all of it, it is that care for others is oftentimes one of the most valuable things we have to offer.


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