Child Creatures

I’m kind of amazed.

When this pandemic began, I was fully resigned to the idea that it would be a terrible, decimating event. I expected the virus to run rampant, and I didn’t much care. My faith in Humanity was at an all-time low. I didn’t imagine that governments would have the will to make the kinds of economic sacrifices they have to save lives. Nor did I imagine that the general populous had the will to take the steps to protect one another.

I’ve been very pleasantly surprised. I’m amazed that governments like Ford’s Conservatives have made decisions to bolster the funding of physical and mental health services. I’m amazed that individuals and families have worked to maintain physical distancing. I’m amazed that communities have rallied around the causes that are important to them.

This is not to say that some individuals, families, and businesses haven’t experienced devastating losses, but I expected things to be much worse — and they could have been.

This pandemic has proven that which I had thought lost — that Humanity has the ability to be more than the greedy, divisive, and apathetic creatures that we have often been. Gene Roddenberry once said:

“I believe in humanity. We are an incredible species. We’re still just a child creature, we’re still being nasty to each other. And all children go through those phases. We’re growing up, we’re moving into adolescence now. When we grow up – man, we’re going to be something!”

When I was a teenager, and even into my twenties, I wholeheartedly agreed with that statement. But over the last 10-15 years, I have really despaired that Humanity would grow out of its adolescence in time to save itself. There is a looooooong way to go, but I can now see again that glimmer of hope for our future.

We have proven that stable universal income, access to universal healthcare (including mental healthcare), an end to homelessness, and general courtesy and respect for one another are all possible. In some cases and places, we fixed these problems literally overnight. These things are possible if we have the will to make them work.

I sincerely hope that we can continue what we’ve started. Most of us should be proud of how we’ve managed this situation, but it is not over yet. If we don’t want to undo all that we’ve done we need to keep this social distancing and other health precautions going for a while yet. We’ve proven it’s possible so please, let’s not give up yet.

It would be the worst crime against ourselves if we died now as a race of “child creatures”. We can push past adolescence and into maturity. We can solve our climate change crisis, ensure every person has access to food and water, educate every child, and evolve into a species where everyone has the opportunity to feel fulfilled.

No doubt, there will be a news story by the end of the week that restores some of my cynicism, but at least for the moment, I have some hope. It’s been a long time. It’s given me some ambition to keep working. I hope it does the same for others.

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