A PIVOTAL POINT
The year 2020 will be remembered as a pivotal point in American history.
Looking back at this moment we will understand how a culmination of events has changed our behavior and perception of reality and influenced the future in a profound manner, similar in significance to America entering World War II, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the opening of China relations or the 9/11 attack.
The convergence of several events — the COVID-19 pandemic, the killing of George Floyd, an angrily divided public, a presidency that made belittling seem an acceptable behavior, and a misinformed public —are a dangerous combination.
The result is a mix of despair, hope, protest, hate speech, distrust and uneven ability to do what is best for the nation. It is the kind of scenario that our opponents Russia and China are welcoming as they watch how our infighting and less-than-stellar response to the crisis made us lose credibility on the world stage.
Will the events of 2020 be followed by the American Renaissance?
Suddenly, all our weaknesses have been exposed at once: an unprepared health care system; a political process that has been marred by party self-interest for decades; an antiquated voting system; uncontrolled means of distributing false information to large audiences; mainstream media that has lost objectivity on both sides of the aisle; our inability to accept non-white Americans as equal; an outdated school system; and a fast-rising income gap.
There are important issues that we need to re-think, revamp and rebuild if we want to continue to prosper as a nation.
We must consent that affordable health care for all is doable and necessary.
High-speed internet is a utility that should be available everywhere, and we can revolutionize our learning system by using technology and smaller coaching centers to give all students a chance to succeed.
We should recognize that a more just distribution of wealth is not anti-capitalistic as other nations prove.
We should acknowledge that having different opinions should be welcomed as part of our democratic process. We must learn to overcome our differences so that we can come together instead of being divided and voting should be as simple as swiping a credit card.
We need to embrace that taking care of our planet will be a good investment of our know-how, technology and capital and will pay triple dividends to the economy, our humanity and the environment and make us a leader in sustainability.
All of these principles are the backbone of a strong, healthy, happy and productive society.
Our behavior will have changed in many other ways, such as learning how to become productive while working from home and that not every suburban household needs two cars and discovered ways to travel virtually.
There are a myriad of other changes in behavior that are hard to anticipate, but hopefully it includes learning how to think critically and form unbiased opinions based on facts and that “free” information is often worth as much as we paid for it.
The events of 2020 can take us in two different directions. One would follow the model of the demise of the Roman Empire that crumbled because of infighting and incapable leadership, but the more desirable model would have us trail the Italian Renaissance that followed the Black Death marking the transition from the Middle Ages to Modernity. It was grounded in an intellectual and cultural movement that is recognized for achievements in the arts, architecture, philosophy, science, technology and exploration.
MARC FREY: media entrepreneur
[PHOTO OF MARC BY MIKE RITTERBECK]