Learn from what worked during crisis
Although the COVID-19 crisis has not yet concluded, we can safely say that the worst is behind us.
The year 2021 is likely to be a much less traumatic year than the one that preceded it, which makes now a reasonable time to reflect on how we transitioned from the winter of fear to the spring of hope.
In my view, there are three core principles that paved our path to progress.
The first is trusting science. The most crucial catalyst in curbing COVID-19 has been the development of the vaccines. Miraculous as their development may seem, the vaccines came about through innovation, not divine intervention.
Say what you will about the anti-maskers and anti-vaxxers, but it was the scientists who saved the day.
The second is treating healthcare as a human right.
The vaccines’ effectiveness is directly linked to their accessibility. Had we only offered them to the wealthy and well connected we would still be seeing concerning case numbers throughout the county. Mass vaccination has demonstrated we are simply better off when all of us enjoy the benefits of affordable, accessible healthcare.
Which brings me to the third principle, embracing social solidarity. COVID-19 taught us to recognize the responsibility we have to one another.
It showed us how to sacrifice selfishness for the sake of community. Simple acts of solidarity saved countless lives, for which we should remain ever grateful.
We might do well to keep these lessons in mind as we set out to solve our remaining collective challenges.
Stop ignoring Israeli human rights abuses
It is encouraging to see increasing numbers of Americans speaking out in support of Palestinian rights; for truth, justice, and peace between Israel and Palestine; and acknowledging the intensity of Israeli government repression of Palestinians, including children.
More than 500 attended a demonstration in Albany on May 21 and 150 a rally six days earlier.
One issue that needs more attention in the United States is the huge number of times (estimates range from 1,300 annually to more than 200 monthly) that dozens of Israeli soldiers burst into the homes of West Bank Palestinian families in the middle of the night, point guns at everyone including children, toddlers and infants, threaten to let their barking dogs bite, ransack the residence and not allow women and children to get dressed.
West Bank Palestinians have lived under Israeli Martial Law since the 1967 war. Every West Bank Palestinian has either experienced these attacks or knows a family(ies) who has. These home invasions leave Palestinians traumatized, terrorized, and furious.
Sadly, the U.S. government and many state governments, with only a few dissenting voices, pledge perpetual, unconditional loyalty to Israel while ignoring these longstanding systemic horrors.
This “Israel right or wrong” mentality is what allows Israeli human rights abuses to endure.
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