Letter to the Editor / Two Pandemics and One Silver Lining
By JT Thompson

Daily news is so intense it’s mind numbing. It’s easy to get down about the world being so divided and troubled with no relief in sight. So how could all that bad news possibly have a Silver Lining?

The first pandemic is COVID-19. Everyone around the world is being – or will be – affected in one way or another. All of us are in the same peril, hoping for an effective vaccine or treatment so our lives and livelihoods can resume. The reality that we are all in the same boat has become undeniable.

The second pandemic is RACISM, and it’s as old as humanity itself… only the victims have changed. Crimes against Blacks have been legal for centuries. Slavery obscenely allowed white people to buy, own and control a Black person’s life – and even end it – no questions asked.

Caste systems in some countries still have brutal racist policies that cause millions to starve to death…. not to mention the abomination of the Holocaust or any of the countless ‘religious wars’ or ‘ethnic cleansings’ that repeatedly decimate humanity.

We think we are better here, but in America at the start of the 1900’s, Irish, German and Italian immigrants were discriminated against the instant they stepped off the boat. And in the 1940’s, innocent Japanese-Americans were singled out for persecution in ‘detention camps.’ We also have decided to demonize Gays, Mexicans, Muslims, Immigrants and Transgenders along the way. Will we ever stop deciding to oppress people?

But racism is now televised, and we all witness overt, blatant and heart-wrenching crimes against Black people on the news daily.

With technology and the media, we are able to see video proof of injustices as they happen. Those racial crimes are not obscure allegations now, they are absolutely real; and our brothers and sisters are suffering and being killed… right in front of our eyes. Again and again and again.

We can’t look away any more. Seeing brutal racism in action repels the vast majority of us. And that’s a good thing that is getting people to work together for long-overdue reforms. Both pandemics… viral and racist… have shown us that we are truly extensions of each other; connected invisibly, but connected nonetheless.

With our awareness of UNITY as the Silver Lining… we have to show people how to overcome their learned biases and work together, doing all that we can to end both racism and diseases. Together is the operative word.

The Silver Lining is a rare opportunity that won’t come to fruition without action, though. Our imperative as humans is to reject racial and cultural divisions and demand that our leaders promote unity, equality and diversity… or be voted out. Be aware, be involved… and vote.

The dual pandemics of disease and racism are existential threats to our species. We must respond globally, immediately and with the understanding of HUMAN UNITY in our hearts guiding us… a lesson that these pandemics have taught us so vividly. UNITY is the Silver Lining… but only if we choose to make living and working together as equals a reality today.