We are not all in the same boat, but we are in the same storm. Some of us are in a yacht. Others are in a leaky rowboat, barely keeping afloat. Many are somewhere in between. The current issues of institutional racism and the pandemic affect each of us differently.
This is a very different year for us. My younger sons came home from college in mid-March and finished their semesters via distance learning, which is not the college experience they were hoping for. DS graduated with degrees in Computer Science and Computer Engineering, but cannot find a job in the current market. JD – also with degrees in Computer Science and Computer Engineering – just found out he is getting laid off next week due to the company he works for in Jeff City downsizing due to lack of projects. ZD and LC would have been working at Cub Scout camp staff and living away from home this summer, but camp was cancelled so they are also at home.
So our nest is not so empty anymore. All four boys back home!
But we are in a yacht. We are able to provide for them and live comfortably. We have our RV to take off in when we want to get away. The boys are old enough to take care of themselves. And it has been an unexpected bonus having them home again. We play a board game every night at dinner. I really never thought we would have this kind of family time again and we are enjoying it. And I have hope that they will find jobs eventually, even though it might take a while.
So the question is, how do we help those who are in the leaky rowboat, on the verge of sinking. It might be difficult, but we have to look at how we can make life fairer for everyone. How do we throw a lifeline to those who are in danger? How to we patch up that boat and keep everybody safe?
One thing I support is a more even distribution of education funds. The way that education is funded by property taxes and the history of the discriminatory practice of redlining, the effects of which are still felt today, means that I live in one of the best funded school districts in the area. Meanwhile my neighbors who are just a few miles away have much fewer resources. I would support a unified school district or another solution even if it means my property value is not boosted by being in a certain school district.
I think it is also important to be willing to discuss the topics of white privilege and systemic racism. It can be very uncomfortable, but I have to admit that my experience is my own. I know that I cannot fully understand the experience of someone who has lived in very different circumstances than mine.
And we need to be willing to social distance and wear a mask for the sake of those who are at risk. The mask does not protect me, but it does protect my elderly neighbor from any germs I might be carrying.
These are difficult topics, and my own opinions on them. I also need to be willing to listen to others with an open mind and a loving heart.