By Abbie Cornett
My mother who lived through the great depression, World War II and the social unrest of the 1960s always said to me, "I hope you never have to live through interesting times." I remember being confused and thinking to myself, who wouldn't want to live in interesting times? Well, I got my answer this year! At the very least, 2020 has been a crash course in "interesting."
No event in recent history has touched the whole world. Yes, there have been wars, acts of terrorism, and natural and manmade disasters. But those events have not had the global consequences that COVID-19 has wrought. The impact of COVID-19 is much broader than its effects on the physical health of the people. Society on a global scale has faced financial strain, isolation, loneliness, trouble accessing food and supplies and fear of illness.
Unfortunately, even though COVID-19 is a collective experience, it is not bringing us closer together as a people. In fact, in many cases it has driven us further apart. Trust me, I know what I am going to say sounds preachy, but now is not the time to lash out or delete people who have different opinions than yours.
While social media is a great way of staying connected, it can create the illusion of anonymity. People often posts things they would never say in person or over the phone. It is much easier to hit the unfriend button or to block someone than it is to tell them to their face you no longer want to be their friend. This feeling of anonymity distances us from the painful emotional consequences of our actions and frequently allows us a feeling of moral superiority.
To be clear, I am not advocating that anyone should remain friends with someone who is hurting them in any way. Rather, I am advocating that people stop to take the time to listen to one another and not react with anger to opinions that are different than their own. You don't have to agree with someone to learn something new. Remember, the world would be a boring place if we all thought the same way!