What this boomer sees is, a change is comin’!

We’ve all had a lot of time to think. Some of that thinking might have gone nowhere— at least nowhere productive— but for communications specialist Larry Checco in Silver Spring, Maryland, it has taken him to the future, and to the positive changes he hopes can come out of the pandemic.

I keep telling my wife she’s the luckiest woman in the world. When she comes to that realization herself, she’ll be a lot happier.

Only kidding. After 40 years of marriage I think she’s pretty content.

If hunkering down with your soulmate over these recent months because of the coronavirus hasn’t negatively infected your relationship, I reckon it will survive anything.

My wife Laurie and I made a pact shortly after isolating ourselves in our house. It was that we would avoid nitpicking each other’s flaws and idiosyncrasies. So far, it seems to have worked.

We rise around 7 a.m. I usually make the coffee, feed our numerous cats, and collect the newspaper from the bottom of the driveway. We then sit across from one another in the living room citing passages from news articles we think the other would be interested in (quite honestly, most news these days just makes us angry, but that’s another story).

During the day we manage to distance ourselves while in the house. Laurie telecommutes from the dining room while I commandeer our second-floor bedroom as my reading and writing cave.

When the weather is nice (i.e. not raining) we take breaks together, walking two miles or so through the neighborhood. Evenings are filled with making dinner and watching the latest Netflix Whatever.

In short, we’re bored.

Given what many others are going through—health-wise, financially, emotionally, socially, and spiritually, not to mention those who have lost loved ones to this deadly disease— Laurie and I feel extremely lucky.

We’ve increased our charitable giving, not that it’s going to make a big difference, but it’s important to us. And, by isolating ourselves in our home, we hope to keep ourselves— and others— safe.

But tell me, how does this end, and what kind of Brave New Normal might we be heading towards?

All this downtime has allowed wide-ranging thoughts to fill the voids.

For example, how can we, as a society, convert this weird, surreal, and dangerous time into something positive?

If nothing else, this pandemic has clearly demonstrated how broken so much in our society seems to be. From our health care system to our supply chains. From our once venerated government institutions to financial credit markets. From our horribly broken and ineffective political system to the way we elect our leaders… which may be why our political system is in such bad shape.

Can they be fixed? For example, to address income and wealth inequality, do we simply tax the rich (which always seems to backfire, anyway), or do we pick up the pieces and remake the system to be more equitable?

Larry and his wife Laurie.

How, if at all, might we shift our values and think differently? Will we return to work as it used to be, with the aspirations many of us held so dear, to work with our noses to the grindstone so we can make money so we can buy things to impress people we couldn’t give a damn about? Or will we set higher goals for ourselves and value connections with family and friends more than we value work?

What about the environment and our relationship to the natural world? Will we value them differently? How about social and economic injustice, which this pandemic has highlighted in so many different ways?

To do nothing means simply to go back to the way everything was before, and miss a golden opportunity to make real change for the better.

Slightly off topic, but important nonetheless, is the fact that more than anything else, this pandemic has stolen our time. We’ll never get these weeks and months of isolation and social distancing back again.

My wife is a bit younger, but I’m a septuagenarian with a bucket list a mile long. Time is precious, so I’m thinking about time a lot differently now than before.

What about you?

By the way, my wife isn’t really the luckiest woman in the world, but I’m certainly the luckiest guy. Pandemic or no pandemic, I can take that to the bank.

2 Comments

  1. Great post! Yes, we need to create a better world and fast! One small thing though: taxing the rich does NOT backfire, not at all, as recent History shows: That’s exactly what was done after World War II in Europe. Progressive income taxes (and to a lesser extent patrimonial taxes) far from backfiring helped build the compassionate world that is Europe’s – i.e. the welfare state with universal access to both health and education (including university).

    So yes, I do believe America has to revisit this notion that taxing the rich “backfires” – because the historical evidence is in: Taxing the rich does not backfire. On the contrary, it helps provide society with the needed funding to solve problems and social tensions. It’s the only way to address injustice, poverty, and discrimination and to provide a good education and access to healthcare for all! There is no other way, you need money to do it.

    1. As always, thanks for your comment, Claude.

      My statement regarding taxing the rich obviously wasn’t clear. I was referring to the theory of supply-side economics, and how by cutting taxes on the rich with the expectation that financial benefit would somehow trickle down to the rest of us has failed miserably–“backfired”–over the past 40 years. It was poorly phrased. My bad.

      Income/wealth inequality, along with racism and other social, ethnic and judicial disparities, is a major underlying reason so many Americans are taking to the streets. Things need to change, and quickly. Nothing less than our fragile democracy is at stake.

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