Opinion: COVID-19: A modern day plague or our evolutionary segue?

What are the effects that COVID-19 might have on small businesses, people, and our communities? Shall this be a time in history when adults and youth are contemplating what is important in life? Our mortality, ideals, priorities and principles in action... or newfound courage.

I’ve come to be inspired in this time of great panic as I’ve asked people from all walks of life what this time means to them. What are their thoughts on the COVID-19 pandemic? What are their fears and concerns? What would they do if they contracted the disease? I’ve never been more pleasantly surprised to hear the response of the indomitable human spirit that gives a new identity to the power of good.

I’ve come to learn about the strength of people in eyes of despair. The fearlessness and sense of humor of individuals in the center of panic and the epitome of faith in news banners of what seems like helplessness. Could this be a time when people are realizing they have nothing to fear of death but instead to fear not having lived beautifully? Is this an opportunity in history that may inspire togetherness or perhaps a realization that goes back to the time before maps, lines in time predating our connection to Adam when we toiled in the fields? Are we being reminded that we laugh and cry in the same language?

Hasn’t media always seemed strange (political debates permeating the news with fear, and celebrities vying for your attention and to think about the demigods, Trump, the fake news, and the establishment)? Not once are we the people mentioned. For you, the reader, are a part of the power that decides. Will you be a fist of power that holds up a rose to teach us that the system must be faced in regard to the imposition.

We are no longer products of legal prejudice. The TSA and all things said and done in regard to our protection like being stripped of your dignity is just an abuse of your constitutional rights asserted by a useless regulations empowered by ignorance, when any laws are passed that deny kindness. We have been herded like cattle in many ways in that we did not care to write letters of complaint demanding to be heard. Towns can pass laws that can go all the way to federal courts to renew constitutional rights on a national scale. Presidents may have executive order but we forgot that the Constitution was designed to protect the people and their right to assemble in power against an ammoniacal government if we so believe.

Will the kids of this generation get to tell their grandkids, “I remember the days when we were all told we might no longer live to see our next birthday due to a tragic virus.” Will it be told how in the midst of what appeared as a quarantined ghost town a man opened the door to his workplace and placed a sign, ‘open’. Open: one of the only great paradigms that all governments and courthouses should apply that will solve all our problems. To be open ... no matter what the hours may be. To be kind ... with a soul of service as an obligation to our jobs. How can there be a better world or better time to start the campaign for kindness than now? One can start researching the amendment of rights and defending one’s self in court. Research the establishment of a nonprofit program or learn how laws can be changed or passed. Right now.

You may struggle and desire to give up. You may feel there is no answer and ask: who cares about this but me? However, with kindness and time you will succeed. Manifest your humblest endeavors (whatever they may be) and write them on sticky notes, paper towels, paper plates if you don’t have any stationary. Focus forward and lead, for this is a great time to lead solvency. So lead for the people who were ever kind to you or for the people who are still smiling to each other as they walk on by in this time of distress (here in Madera, Nashville, and Colorado ... all the places I’ve seen with my own eyes since the panic of the COVID-19 frenzy). Yet, people are still smiling in good faith, helping each other without asking to be three feet away.

Dear Public,

This is not a time to fear but a time for new realizations and new beginnings. This is a time to heal, emanate compassion, and be of assistance to the community in new and creative ways outside the scope of income. This is a time to show kindness with a passion and to abide by the law as always. This is the time for great research, the search for erudition and the time to find purpose where you are most useful and effective in helping yourself, others, your neighbor, your community, your family, your love, and your friends. That is, the best way to be safe is by beginning to be honest to yourself and caring for the ones you may have hurt in the past. Be kind to a person that hurt you like that annoying bully or past friend you cheated on. Ask if you can help them with anything. It sounds like a high standard to uphold, I know, but that’s because it is true. As Maya Angelou once said, “Love is like a virus. It can happen to anybody at anytime.” or as I would say, “Love is like a virus: it affects us all.”

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M. K. Salah-Smith is a reporter and essayist who lives in Madera.

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