A common enemy
Condoleezza Rice, former US Secretary of State was quoted as saying, “We need a common enemy to unite us.”
Her comment was likely about bringing the fractioned political ideologies in the United Sates together – not the entire world.
In one word, coronavirus, the world has been inextricably connected to defeat this common enemy. The irony is that our banding together is keeping us six feet apart – for the survival of the human race.
The other irony is that, as of writing this, there are conflicting messages around the world – an edict of social distancing versus the US president hoping Americans are in church on Easter. After all, Easter is a time of goodness and kindness.
It coincides with the Jewish holiday of Passover celebrating the Israelites exodus from Egypt to freedom. It is at this time of the year that the northern hemisphere opens its arms to welcome spring.
The world, united
But this year, the northern and southern hemispheres are connected by a common enemy instantly changing daily life. The question to ask ourselves is, with this abrupt change in the world, will we use this pause that connects the world to improve? When it is over, will we all go our separate ways, or will we realise that the world is connected by love – even when we are forced to be six feet apart?
This love extends beyond our families and friends to include our work. Most of us probably never thought about that – maybe until now. Real life human connections matter.
Think about it. Do you miss being in a boring meeting with real people? Do you miss traveling across your country or the world to attend a meeting? When video conferencing, do you wish you could reach through the screen to hug a co-worker in celebration?
We are all being taught a lesson on what is important – and it is human connections.
We are learning a lesson on seeing how our fates are linked from our interdependence in a free market economy, to the dangers of our physical human-to-human connections.
…there must be proactive measures as well, not just reactionary. The virus didn’t cause homelessness, poverty and unemployment.
No more coming to work sick. We will no longer tolerate a co-worker coming in to work with a virus – not even a common cold. And, we will especially want assurances that the restaurants where we eat have a zero-tolerance policy towards sick workers.
No more lack of healthcare coverage for people who are sick. We are realising a sicker individual can quickly turn into a sick society. We want governments that take care of its citizens. The US government, to its credit, recently signed off a $2.1 trillion relief bill. It’s a good start, but there must be proactive measures as well, not just reactionary. The virus didn’t cause homelessness, poverty and unemployment. We can’t let people rot in the street.
Everyone deserves a basic income. The reality is the world’s economy can shut down in an instant. Lives can be shattered. We must go forward believing it is our civic duty to make sure every person can eat and live.
There has been an ongoing battle of ’money over lives‘ – versus – ’lives over money’ Think about global warming. It is a problem where the consequences are not immediate. Then think about the coronavirus – the problem is happening in real time. In each case, there is still a battle of getting the world back to work, versus waiting for the world to heal. Right now, as we experience human connections on a global scale, we can heal our Earth together.
When the imminent problems of the coronavirus are behind us, what will lie before us is how we want to live and work as a society. I believe the way we work will change and goodness and love will win.
Not recommended without gloves
We will have a new and more caring system of working together. It will include respect for another person’s space for their livelihood and health. It will include no tolerance for coming to work sick.
Plus, we will have a new relationship with the free market economy. We want goods and services to flow, but not at our peril. Plus, we want to prioritise where we invest our time and money in the next economy. Will investments in wind energy supersede investments in oil? Will rethinking how we interact with each other create a boon for virtual interactions – virtual voting, virtual driver’s license renewals and more.
An article in The New Yorker about Estonia, a small Baltic country shows it is virtually ready for this new world with its technological advancements. The country is attacking the crisis with innovation through an initiative called ’Hack the Crisis’ to drive new innovation.
We will persevere
And from every crisis – every human challenge – we have innovated. Through love of work and loving those we work with, by protecting our fellow man, we will have new world order of innovation and work. And in this season of Easter, Passover and more – we will start to find human goodness and kindness – and yes, a new spring. If that happens, the war against this common enemy will send us on the road to peace through human connections.