What’s Next?

Am I and My Family Going to Be OK?

The answer to that question begins with the question — what’s on your mind?

For most Americans today, their mind is occupied by three central worries: their and their family’s personal health, their economic situation and prospects in the face of an unrelenting virus, and the future course of our nation. Let’s tackle the questions most people are asking in turn.

Is it possible I will get sick? The answer must be hedged. If the President can get the virus, everyone else can too. Recent data indicate a widespread resurgence of infections, and it’s vital to remain diligent. Will I survive unscathed? Most probably yes, but there are no guarantees.

Is my job safe? This answer must also be hedged. Is my employer OK? Am I essential? Do I more than pay for myself? How quickly can the general economy recover from Covid? Meaning, it depends and cannot be answered unequivocally today.

What of the future? Will Obamacare survive and a woman’s right to control her own body? That largely depends on the outcome of the election. If Judge Barrett makes it to the Supreme Court, both are in serious doubt. However, if Biden wins the popular vote by a big enough margin, there are steps Biden and the Congress can, and probably will, take to rectify the result of Trump’s and the Senates’ hypocritical intransigence.

Will the basic operations of democracy ever get back to normal? Possibly when and if the base of 40% of Americans who find no fault in Trump begins to shrink back to a more normal size and flexible temperament. When four out of ten Americans are constantly angry at the other six people, inevitably there will be outbursts of hate and some violence. There needs to be a lot of on-the-ground work among all Americans everywhere to repair this seemingly intractable divide. Only then will we better know and trust each other. If Facebook and Twitter would encourage an amicable life instead of an angry one, we just might make a start in that direction. Instead, their persistence on seeking profits from popular anger may be today’s biggest problem.

We all keep reading about the risks that we are sliding into a new period of despotism. Is that possible and what can we do about it? Thankfully, our military leaders say repeatedly that they have NO ROLE in politics. Unfortunately, history has too many stories from the past of militaries having “no role” – until they do. Make friends with as many military officers as you can.

So how can I and my family be OK in the period ahead?

Protect yourselves, first and foremost. Treat the virus like the dangerous adversary it has proven to be, rather than a trivial inconvenience that unduly infringes personal freedom.

Then, protect — with your life, if necessary — the freedom of the press. They hold all the ultimate keys to your prisons, hospitals and food lines.

Adapt to the changing economic conditions by taking jobs –almost any jobs—that can keep you and your families off the streets with a roof over your heads and enough food on the table.

NEVER despair. If you do that, you practically ensure that the worst things you worry about will happen. Individually and collectively, this is one of the most challenging times in our young nation’s history.  I remain hopeful that the American people and the institutions that serve us can and will rise to the occasion.

Also, keep your cockeyed optimism in your pocket for your next job interview.

Optimism sells well on the job.

Go for it!

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