Being a child of the 50’s, I’ve lived a little and seen a lot. Although only approaching my early teens during the turbulent 60’s, I remember that it felt like the country was being ripped to pieces. Protests of the Viet Nam War, peaceful marches that turned into fiery storms of chaos, with cries of police brutality and distrust of a government that seemed to pay little attention to the climate of the country. The country was broken.

Fast forward to 2020 and things have pretty much come full circle, as the country mourns another person of color killed by a rogue law enforcement officer, sparking racially charged marches that morph into a free for all of looting and mayhem. People bickering back and forth about whose rights supersedes the other and Government not listening to warnings of an impending pandemic. How did we end up back where we started and how do we keep from returning to this setting like a scene from the movie Groundhog Day?  We are broken and we need to be better.

History repeating itself has been the theme as we move into the newest decade. We’re enduring a pandemic, the enormity of which the world has not seen since the 1918 Spanish Flu. Yet how we are reacting to this crisis has not changed with over a century to prepare. We’ve been down this pandemic road before and after over 100 years, things are eerily similar.

Friends and neighbors with compromised health conditions are fearful that, if infected with this virus, they may not recover. “There is no cure or vaccine, so what are we to do?” We are told that wearing a mask and keeping our distance will help keep this virus from spreading. At the same time, there are some that feel it is their right to not wear a mask and that being told to cover up is unconstitutional.

If you do a search for the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, you’ll find masked citizens, social distancing and folks declaring wearing a mask was an affront to their civil liberties just as we see today. In 1918, common thought was that men sensed wearing a mask was an attack on their masculinity. Is that the same reasoning for today’s dissenters? Does it really matter? The country is broken, and we need to get better.

What isn’t broken is the dedication and courage of doctors, nurses, medical staff, and volunteers that stood united in their mission to serve the community during this pandemic and for this you have our gratitude. We should also be grateful that the businesses that were allowed to stay open, did what they could to serve us and hopefully are able to endure their challenges moving forward. For the businesses that await their time to reopen, the community will be there to support you, we can only pray that it is not too late.

Will we learn anything from what is occurring in today’s world? When this pandemic crisis subsides and justice is served in Minneapolis, will we put as much energy into fixing that which is broken or, are we destined to repeat this again and again?