I’ll bet your heart swelled when you saw pictures of Middletown cops and firefighters doing what many of their counterparts throughout our region have been doing during these scary times – helping stuck-at-home kids celebrate their birthdays with gifts, greetings and birthday music blaring from their police cars.
Who doesn’t feel good inside when we see more pictures of police, firefighters, DPW and emergency service workers descend on our hospitals and nursing homes to thank all of the front line folks putting their lives on the line for us in this fight against this deadly disease?
Isn’t it cool that the teachers and staff in Monticello greeted their students in parades of cars and pick-up trucks?
And how great is it to see all of those local businesses and regular folks making hand sanitizer, masks and meals for those fighting the coronavirus - along with people from places like Middletown's St. Margaret's Soup Kitchen and the city itself feeding the growing number of hungry folks who are victims of the disease's economic impact.
All of these folks – especially the medical folks - warm our hearts with their goodness, don’t they?
We don't ask whether those cops, firefighters, teachers, DPW, emergency service, medical and other kind-hearted people are Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals. We don’t care whether they’re black, brown or white; Christian, Jew or Muslim as we cheer their selflessness. Just like they don't ask about politics, race or ethnicity when they rally for the health care folks fighting this terrible disease and helping so many of us, regardless of race, religion or ethnicity.
We know that labels don't matter in this struggle against a common enemy. We're all in this together.
So how about bringing this spirit of goodness that’s inside us to our everyday lives when this crisis winds down?
Remember those post-Sept. 11 days? How so many of us knew someone who died or lost a loved one during the attack on our country – just as so many of us know someone now inflicted with this terrible disease.
Remember how we flew our American flags together? How we wrote “united we stand” on our cars, homes and highway overpasses?
We didn’t sweat the small stuff. We didn’t give someone the finger because they were driving too fast or too slow on Route 17. If someone had a couple of items on a supermarket checkout line, we let them go ahead. Even our politicians put their divisiveness on hold and stood together to sing “God Bless America.”
We weren’t just united in grief; we were united in goodness.
But as the years passed, the unity that strengthened us was replaced by divisiveness that weakened us.
We – led by the politicians who are supposed to represent all of us - looked to blame one another for our problems, not understand each other to solve those problems.
We don’t have to be like that.
We can look to those cops and firefighters, emergency service and DPW workers and front-line medical people to see the goodness in all of us. We can look at ourselves and our response to that goodness and know we all want to help one another. We can look at each other and know we can help each other by keeping one another safe – by staying home as much as possible, by maintaining social distancing and wearing masks and gloves when we do go out.
We can look at one another and remember that we’re all in this fight for life together.