So in a community that celebrates community when the kids trick-or-treat, the adults often find themselves in extended silly and serious conversation. That’s what community provides: a foundational backdrop in which both the silly and serious can respectfully occur… with kindness and an always sincere, listening ear.
Knowing our shared interest in current events, one neighborhood friend offered his brief, political commentary, knowing whatever he shared, it would be welcomed and we could discuss. It isn’t an exact quote, but it began with something like this…
I just don’t know anyone who would openly admit they’re a Republican right now… or with the current executive/legislative dysfunction, a Democrat either…
There was no intended disrespect toward any of either party faithful. There was simply a recognition that our home of the free/land of the brave is facing some immediate, increasingly intensifying issues — and there are members in each party who are either (a) getting in the way and/or (b) making things worse. While there are indeed long term and foreign issues in need of serious attention, there currently exist at least three sobering challenges in need of immediate attention and solution — so that we can actually deal with those other issues. We are in need of a rational, respectful “middle” to put pet issues and partisanship aside in order to solve these pressing problems.
Now that November’s Election Day has passed, we need to embrace what’s prudent — not partisan — and respectfully figure out the following…
COVID-19… With case numbers declining — but more variants and outbreaks possible — what’s our medical approach as we move from a pandemic to an endemic? What’s a wise way forward with mask and vaccine mandates? Does a “one-size-fits-all” approach make sense, noting the demographics of Big Sky Montana are way different than a bustling, urban NYC? How do we honor all people? (Note: the key word in that last sentence is “all.”)
Crime… Crime rates are up. The FBI reported last month that there was nearly a 30% increase in homicides last year; a midyear report by the Major Cities Chiefs Association, a coalition of the largest police agencies, suggests this year’s violent crime rates are even higher. While it’s historically true that crime rates vary — but with at least four cities voting yesterday whether to dismantle law enforcement and effectively defund the police — the question before us is whether these two years are an aberration or a sign of things to come. This cannot be answered accurately if partisanship impedes problem-solving.
Inflation… While some would like us to believe that the current inflation is transitory or temporary, as the weeks turn into months and soon to a year, such analysis seems wholly inaccurate. Prices are on the rise; the United States currently sits at a 13 year high, annual inflation rate. Airfare, lumber, food and shelter — they are all costing exponentially more. While there exist multiple factors that impact inflation, three are especially significant:
- increased money supply
- the declining value of the dollar
- supply chain issues*
That’s why prioritized policy matters. It matters how much the government spends; how much money is being infused into society? When too many dollars chase too few goods, inflation is likely to occur. When there are too many U.S. dollars in the system, the value of each of those dollars is lesser. And regarding the supply chain, when much of the American economy was forced to shut down in the wake of COVID-19, maintaining the same levels of production became impossible. Then came a labor shortage on top of the production slowdown, neither which have yet rebounded decisively nor well, and both which are detrimental to our economy and inflation’s continued rise.
Let the Intramuralist not negate the plethora of other issues that we as Americans — who have that in common by the way — need to address. There are serious issues both foreign and domestic — from within our individual state boundaries to the swollen, southernmost border to even the intensifying South China Sea. From energy to education, poverty to police, equality, justice, and the First, Second and even more Amendments, we’ve got a lot to talk about and work through; we’ve got a lot to solve. But there’s a wise way to do it.
Just as a parent said this week from Loudoun Country, Virginia — the current ground zero for what education should and should not include, how parents and teachers could partner together — we need to recognize we all have so much in common… “We’d all be better off if we declared peace, recognized our common love as parents who want the best for their kids and looked for a solution together.”
Whether parents or simply people, whatever the issue, we all have so much in common. So let’s be prudent. Let’s declare peace. Let’s then look for a solution to the above pressing issues together, refusing to accept anything partisan, worse or less.
(*Forbes, “Buckle Up: 3 Reasons Why Inflation Is Rising,” June 10, 2021.)