Maybe only this COVID pandemic will finally bring our society back to a common good, where reality is driven by the facts on the street, not opinions on Facebook. Or maybe not. It remains to be seen if our common sense and everyday interactions will again drive our democratic society. Already some of you reading this may be getting angry.
But the late Ravi Zacharias predicted you would be. Two decades ago, he saw the raw emotion driving our public discourse. He said that in America we were failing at the public good by politicizing morality and moralizing politics. What did he mean?
He meant exactly what we have seen as the pro-Trump and anti-Trump forces demeaned each other this year; as parents became embittered by either side of the sexual-orientation curriculum changes at public schools; and as local town councils voted for or against diversity councils. “They are trying to take over,” cries each side. We are taking our personal, values-based moral decisions, and turning them into political issues (political correctness and "wokeness"). And we are taking political stances, public policy and decision-making, and turning them into moral stances, making the person wrong and not the issue they hold. We have not been taking sides but calling each other Right or Wrong; Good or Bad.
Read the Bernardsville New stories over the past year (you can search past issues on their web site) on the Bernards Township debate about whether to form a diversity committee in town or not. See if you conclude what I do after reading the dialogue. What do I mean?
I assume we can discuss in good faith; do you? I believe in the common good; do you? If, for example, I believe in more restraints on guns or in police action, I am not an evil anarchist. I am instead one who hopes and believes that dialogue, peaceful restraint, and community action are more powerful than greater fire power. You may believe otherwise. So, let’s debate, offer our evidence on what has happened and what has been tried, and then let the decision be made. Our aim is less gun violence and more peaceful neighborhoods.
If you believe in stronger restrictions in how voting takes place, you are not advocating voter suppression, but you strongly believe in voter protections and legitimate elections in our democracy. I may believe otherwise. So, let’s debate, offer our evidence on what has happened and what has been tried, and then let the decision be made. Our aim is to offer every registered voter the chance to participate in this democracy.
OK, so you think the COVID pandemic fake? You think lockdowns are evil; or charity to unemployed a government overreach? Give it up. What we do know is that we have lots of sick people, shortage of nurses, and overrun hospitals – those are the facts. Call up the Secretaries of State Health & Human Services in any one of our fifty states. Let’s pull together and solve this.