By Ellen Goodman, Founder, The Conversation Project
How remarkable and hard it is to hear Americans being urged into “social distancing.” As if we had not been too distant already, as if we were all not subject to the centrifuge of modern American life that has us, in Robert Putnam’s words, “bowling alone.”
If there is anything, however, that we are learning from this anxious moment, it’s that we are all connected and dependent on each other and on our leaders. Yes, we need to stand apart physically but reach out emotionally. We are in THIS together.
Our health, even our life, hinges now on an entire community feeling and acting responsibly. It hinges on the recognition that we are dependent on and responsible for everyone: ourselves, our families, our neighbors, our coworkers, our health workers, our government, and the strangers who are worrying deeply about paychecks and day care and safety. We have to step up to the moment and see ourselves as one community, one country.
At The Conversation Project, our motto has been that “it’s always too soon until it’s too late” to talk about what matters to us. How much truer that is now. This crisis came upon us with warp speed, and we need to react just as quickly and constantly. Who would you turn to in a crisis? What is your plan? Who needs you?
Even in a time of social distancing, talking to each other and caring for each other is still the glue that keeps us together.