What a time this is
I know you’re stressed out. Worried. Deeply concerned. Not just about the pandemic—although that’s in the forefront of most people’s minds right now—but for all the ways our leaders are failing us, our neighbors, and our most vulnerable residents.
That’s why we’re called Americans of Conscience—we care.
You’re here because you hold principles that matter: decency, respect, fairness, kindness. And when you see elected officials failing to uphold the same—acting selfishly, greedily, deceptively—it is reason for real concern.
Here’s an invitation to take a deep breath and remember that while the violent, racist, selfish, hateful voices get the most media coverage, they are very much the minority.
Right now, the majority of Americans are pulling together through this time and working to make things better in the long run.
Here’s how I know
When I ask how people how they are doing—from friends and family to neighbors—nearly everyone responds with: “It’s hard, but it could be so much worse.”
The people I encounter are aware of the reality and danger that hospital workers face. We’re cognizant that some of our neighbors are completely out of cash or must work because they can’t afford not to. We’re concerned for those who may become frighteningly ill and won’t make it through.
Yes, we’re all experiencing hardships and inconveniences to varying degrees, and yet we have perspective.
Why this matters
I’m a child of the 70s. I came of age “living in a material world” when “girls just wanna have fun” and want their M-TV. In the intervening four decades, our cultural values have slowly shifted more toward “me and mine” and away from community and collaboration. Today, we might have a lot more stuff in the garage than we used to, but a lot less connection.
What I find heartening is that, for the first time in decades, we’re making huge sacrifices to benefit our community and people we may never meet. This is huge.
No marching required
I had much-needed laugh at a pandemic-related mattress commercial recently. It said: “Now, for the first time ever, you can change the world by staying in bed.”
If you’re feeling unsettled and antsy, please know that you’re not alone. We live in a culture that does not like to sit still for very long. The reason for this unhealthy mindset is a topic for another post, but a lot of people want to get back to work and life as normal.
Yet it’s true–the fewer places we go, and the fewer people we meet, the more lives will be saved in the long run.
We’re making a real difference together. In the places observing stay-at-home orders and strict social distancing, the curve is indeed flattening. Fewer people are getting sick, fewer people are dying, and medical facilities are not over capacity.
This is not happening by accident. We are doing this together.
A new (old) view
There’s another positive to come from this time. I’m sure you’ve seen the long lists of people now designated as essential workers. Many of these jobs have historically been considered demeaning, low-skill, or unimportant in the past.
No one’s lauding C-level management and self-made men right now. No, we’re revering the people doing honest work keeping things moving: postal workers, grocery store checkers, delivery people, sanitation workers, farmers and farm workers, and medical staff from doctors to cleaning crews.
How incredibly refreshing.
Support the most vulnerable
While we hold up these heroes, we’re also glimpsing the inequity of asking some workers to take on much more risk (to themselves and their families) because they lack paid sick time, health insurance, and struggle to make ends meet. We know this is wrong.
We’re concerned for people held in jail without trial unable to meet bond and for families legally seeking asylum trapped in detention centers. In close quarters, their lives are at risk.
Because we are people of conscience, we recognize injustice. No one, no matter their age, level of education, or background deserves to die.
Action cures fear
That’s why we’re proud that the Americans of Conscience Checklist offers you constructive actions to address these issues. And, by design, you can do all of this good from home.
We believe in the power of your voice and our collective voices to advocate for a healthier democracy and the rights of all people. We work hard to make it simple to speak up.
So, if you want to see Congress support people through this economic hardship, we have actions for that this week. If you want to speak up for people in detention, or protect the postal service, or ensure safer voting this November, we have actions for those too.
We can support our democracy while we #StayHomeSaveLives.
You’re invited (again!)
And if you just can’t focus, I’ve got your back.
Today and every 1st and 3rd Sunday through June, I’m hosting a live Sunday Spark session to work on the AoC Checklist together. At our first one, all present completed over 100 actions! And I can’t wait to introduce you to three special guests this week!
This is a most challenging time. Let’s not allow fear keep us from creating the world we want to live in today—from home or even in bed.
We’re in this together, friends. Keep being safe.
Jen Hofmann, AoCC Creator and Editor