As we near the end of this extraordinary year there is light and hope. In spite of the horrors that seemed to define 2020 we learned that there is a strong core of humans on this planet who faced the challenges of the last twelve months and adjusted to meet them. We have been shown the glory of our minds and their ability to identify problems and solve them. We have witnessed worldwide sacrifice on a scale perhaps not seen since the tragic years of World War II. We were challenged to assert our obligations to one another and there was an outpouring of response that encircled the globe. We witnessed profiles in courage that left us in awe. We saw love win many times over.
I would be remiss if I were to pretend that people on this earth acted universally with good will during the challenges and tragedies of this past year. We are after all only human and sometimes our fears and our beliefs lead us in questionable directions. We have been quite divided this year as to which were the right pathways to follow. We definitely chose sides convinced that the others who did not think like us were wrong at every turn. Perhaps it will take the distance of hindsight to be able to unravel the decisions that were right from those that were disastrous, but certain individuals, groups, and movements seemed to keep us hopeful that the coming year of 2021 will be a year of healing and love in our tattered world.
- Perhaps no other group epitomizes the astounding goodness of humankind during this pandemic than the healthcare workers across the globe. Doctors, Physicians Assistants, nurses, aides, technicians, maintenance crews and hosts of heroes have labored for long and stressful hours, days, weeks, months without respite. Many died in the process of caring for the sick who came to them. They carried on with their work even as far too many among us questioned their advice and intentions. They have been angels among us who have earned our respect and gratitude.
- There are nameless, faceless men and women with brilliant minds who unlocked the secrets of Covid-19 and developed vaccines that may soon free us all from worry and allow us to once again embrace the world and each other. Surely this remarkable feat demonstrates that science and ingenuity have the power to solve even the most frightening problems. These are the geniuses of our era whose work is as life changing as that of Galileo and Pasteur. They deserve our honor.
- It required great faith and astounding courage to be one of the many individuals who agreed to test the vaccines inside their own bodies. They became the willing guinea pigs who took enormous leaps into the unknown in an effort to find a way to hopefully one day eliminate the scourge of Covid-19. They demonstrated the adventurous spirit that has defined humans from the beginnings of history and theirs is as important a contribution to progress as those test pilots who made it possible to reach the moon.
- Speaking out against injustice has always been risky business. There is danger in pointing to societal problems. We humans tend to prefer calm and quiet and sticking with whatever has been the status quo. The brave men and women who protested the inequities of our justice system during the spring and summer were often misunderstood but their moral certainty that we must have change was as important for embracing the ideals of our country as the Declaration of Independence that began our grand but imperfect democratic journey long ago. As with any human attempt to draw attention to human rights there were some ugly moments, but viewed on the whole their efforts created a magnificent awakening that will hopefully lead to important and long needed change. They are the new patriots who will lead our country to a better and kinder version of itself.
- Ordinary men and women in every walk of life were innovative, flexible willing to adapt to necessary changes in the way we live and work. They set up offices and classrooms in their homes. They entertained themselves away from crowds. They donned masks out of respect for the health of others. They sent donations of money and food and personal items to those who have been devastated by the disruptions brought about by Covid-19. They reached out to those most vulnerable to the virus and kept them feeling safe and loved. They adjusted to every need without complaint reprising the kind of sacrifice that our grandparents and great grandparents endured during the Great Depression and the two world wars of the twentieth century. They are the everyday unsung heroes of the pandemic.
- Our system of government weathered the storm of political strive. Not since the days of Franklin Delano Roosevelt have so many made their choices known in an election. Some braved the polling places and others like me sent their votes by mail to help prevent the spread of contagion. In the final analysis we the people made our voices heard and when attempts were made to defile our system brave individuals stood firm in defending our votes. The members of the Supreme Court followed the law, not political leanings and the process worked the way our Founding Fathers had hoped it would. This was a glorious moment for every American regardless of party or political leanings. Things did not fall apart. The center held.
So as we approach a new year I am filled with optimism for all of humankind. I understand that there are still many hardships and challenges ahead but as people we have proven our mettle even though it was sometimes hidden in a war of words and disagreements. True moral character seems to have won the day in spite of attempts to derail it. We may hobble along but we are still moving forward. Hopefully a year of healing and love lies ahead. We have the people we need to insure that it happens.