I’d like to find something normal, something mundane to write about. But my mind keeps going back to the three simultaneous crises we find ourselves in, here in early January 2021.
- The pandemic. 22 million US cases now and accelerating. Approaching 400K US citizens dead.
- The economic disaster brought on by the pandemic. Tens of thousands of businesses bankrupt, millions of individuals nearly so.
- The (wretched) state of US democracy. Half the country hates the other half, and quite a few are ready to turn that hate into civil war (see this week for an example). Congress is dysfunctional.
Any one of these crises would be enough to mark this time as significant in our personal lives and national history. But together, they’re…overwhelming. How do we extricate ourselves from this deep, deep hole?
Poor Joe Biden is inheriting the worst situation since Lincoln in the 1850s or Roosevelt in the 1930s. Post Civil War reconstruction was tough, but you can argue that this is tougher. I hope Biden is up to the task – he’s not exactly in the prime of his life. This makes every choice he has for leadership slots crucial – Cabinet Secretaries, White House staffers, task force leaders, etc. – every person is going to have to be superb at their job if we are to fix things. Or at least improve them.
Other than put the hate on hold, it’s hard to see what ordinary people can do to help. With the pandemic, the plea to mask up and stay distanced just hasn’t worked. And we may be past a point of no return anyway.
And for this ordinary person, I would enjoy being part of Biden’s team, developing strategies to address these three entwined problems. It’s the challenge of a lifetime, making the Manhattan Project or Apollo Project look like child’s play in comparison. Worth some thought.