As we battle the pandemic, many new issues have arisen for Americans. Broad social changes are under way, even as our neighbors are suffering and dying from the virus. Following are a list of some of the most significant items.
Diversity. So much is being discussed about the need for diversity in business and everyday life. The most downtrodden groups, specifically women and people of color, are making massive demands. It’s strange that the pandemic would encourage such unrelated actions while so many are suffering medically and financially.
In business, corporations are striving to diversify their boards of directors and promoting more women and Blacks to senior management positions. Large investors are blackballing corporations that either ignore or resist demand for diversity. Having more diversity among decision makers will improve the performance of corporations in the minds of most savvy investors.
Heroes and icons. Quite a few former heroes and great Americans have lost their hallowed status. Many of our forefathers who fought for our country’s independence are being outed for owning and trading slaves. The accomplishments of these former heroes are being denigrated because of their insensitivities relating to the plight of Blacks. The result has included tearing down statues and memorials. Even Washington and Jefferson have been caught up in the controversy.
Social interaction. Americans, for the most part, are affectionate. Hugging and kissing friends and family members is commonplace. Or, should I say, was commonplace. Moving forward, the pandemic has taught us that being touchy feely can be hazardous to your health. After the virus is defeated, it’s likely that physical contact will be much less.
Physical interaction between people who are romantically inclined will also be affected. If we’re going to shun an innocent kiss, how will we react if one individual tries to encourage intimacy. It will likely be very awkward.
Physical fitness. Physical fitness hit a high point before the pandemic. More Americans than ever were exercising several times each week for health and vanity reasons. But, the authorities have indicated that health clubs are extremely dangerous. Heavy breathing and expelling hot air and spittle when exercising are perilous to bystanders. It’s how the Covid virus spreads- through the air. For this reason, authorities have not allowed clubs to reopen, and many are going out of business.
Restaurants. No small business enterprises have suffered more than restaurants, eateries and cafes. Many have gone bankrupt, and more certainly will prospectively. In New York City, dining indoors is not permitted. So many restaurants have taken over space outside their doors. Unfortunately, the number of meals that can be served is a small percent of what it used to be, especially with distancing requirements. What’s going to happen in locations that are cold during winter months, if restrictions do not end? And, even if restrictions are decreased, will diners risk infection when restaurants must serve food indoors?
Police protection. Probably the most controversial political actions are those involving police and funding of these first responders. Black demands for fairness and equal justice have expanded dramatically, and now some cities are decreasing police protection by reducing personnel and slashing budgets. The result has been more crime. Some is perpetrated by violent protesters, and some result from decreased responses by police departments. How will we protect our urban centers without aggressive police surveillance and response? This question remains unanswered.
Returning to school. A gigantic controversy is brewing relating to decisions about sending our children back to school in September. Is it safe? Will the virus spread if schools are opened? Are our parents and grandparents vulnerable to the disease being carried home by innocent youngsters? Are teachers in jeopardy? There are many different opinions about how to proceed and school administrators are going to go their separate ways. Will parents send young their young children back to classrooms before a vaccine is the discovered and is employed?
Protest. We need a new definition of protest. We need agreement among dissatisfied groups that violence, under no circumstances, is a good thing for our society and social interaction. Destruction of local neighborhoods is criminal an unproductive. Nevertheless, authorities must do their part to deal with complaints from abused groups, especially people of color.
The 2020 elections. The tabulation of votes in November is going to be contested because our voting systems are antiquated and not secure. The chaos that is likely to occur is going to result in a massive demand by Americans to upgrade our election process. If we are not diligent in this regard, every voter will question the validity of our election results
Government financial support during crises. The government’s response to the needs of average Americans in the midst of a financial crisis has been inspirational. It’s great to see that all politicians, to some extent, support this aid. There will be controversies about the extent of aid, but we will work through these issues. Our federal government must step up to support those in need.