After Super Tuesday 2020
As I write this, it’s actually still Super Tuesday, and the news is full of updates about Senator Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, how long the lines are at the polls, how many delegates each of the Super Tuesday states (of which Minnesota is one) has. There’s plenty of other news, too: the corona virus, the tornado that hit Nashville overnight, the warm weather here in Minnesota this week.
And I’m having a hard time focusing. I went to a Bernie Sanders rally with my daughter and son-in-law in St. Paul on Monday night, held hands with people I don’t know, cheered when Representative Ilhan Omar introduced Senator Sanders and his wife. Thousands of people packed into Roy Wilkins Auditorium, waved signs and committed to voting for Sanders. We agreed on the need for change, the need for compassion and fairness to make an appearance in this country, and the hope that we will all do better after this next presidential election. My mind has been swirling ever since as I’ve considered the possibilities.
But all the news coverage about the corona virus and the subsequent fear that people are feeling - and acting upon - is also swirling in my mind. My daughter Abby mentioned how many items are disappearing from the shelves of the Target store where she works in HR: Clorox wipes, Tylenol, ibuprofen, hand sanitizer, and other cleaning and health supplies. Today, when I dropped off old cable television equipment at the Xfinity store in Roseville, the man who helped me used hand sanitizer as soon as he shook my hand. He told me he’s doing that for everyone, and is scared about the corona virus. I mostly just listened. What can I say to someone who is afraid of shaking my hand? I finished my business and went home.
Between election year news and pandemic news, it’s hard to stay upbeat. Maybe the best method is to do what I usually do at this time of year, which is maintaining good health practices, by which I mean washing my hands every time I return home from anywhere, and listening to very little news. Somehow, if I read the news instead of listening to it, I can absorb it with less stress. Fear seems to be driving everything: response to a new virus and response to a new presidential candidate. People are afraid of the unknown and they’re afraid of change.
Where does that leave us when something has to change to make our lives better?
While I won’t stop fighting to make my country a better place for everyone, this discouragement is real. Change has to happen. If we don’t open a path for change under our own direction, it will come barreling at us (climate change! new viruses! interrupted supply chains!), no holds barred. All we’ll be able to do is react. There will be no time for anything else.
Which way would you rather change happened? As a chosen path or a tsunami that wipes out everything you think you know?
Super Tuesday is one of those times when many of us can help pick the next direction. Let’s hope we chose well.