We are not worriers. As a people, we are warriors. This is a war for wellbeing.
Let us not confuse wellbeing with wellness. Wellness is about mental and physical health. Wellbeing is about all things related to being well or welfare—health and wellness, money, services from housing to water, education, rights, liberty, and access, equity.
The COVID-19 pandemic brought about a unique and needed form of warfare for the wellbeing of all or warfare for welfare. It is biological, political, educational, psychological, societal, and spiritual.
Many people are responding as if there is an active shooter, everywhere: running, hiding, and fighting. That is not enough. Even the most privileged are learning that such actions alone are insufficient, in this life or death matter, for defeating this global threat.
America has the most COVID-19 cases in the world, and we have not peaked yet. America has the most privilege and wealth. Also, America has some of the most inequities.
During this global pandemic, America and people across the world are learning more about general welfare. Many people are learning how to wait, our connectivity and how the actions of one can affect billions, proper sanitization and personal hygiene, how to cook and eat in, how much our first responders are needed and must do, how critical health professionals and healthcare are to society, the importance of public schools and education institutions, to work from home or creatively make ends meet, how to work on our wellness and mindset, and the risks of traveling, touching others.
Some good is always present, even amid warfare.
Thankfully, during this political season, the speeches have stopped, temporarily; and now it is all about actions. Stop arguing and lead. Do something!
There has been no school shooting in the U.S. anywhere for weeks. Thankfully, we see no evening news only focused on crime in urban communities. We see no looting and rioting in the streets. We see unity, even among many enemies. Crooked places are being made straight.
Even our national government showed bipartisanship with $2 trillion of pubic treasure going to the people. People in each socioeconomic class can access additional private funds and services for various safety nets from housing, water, utilities, food, to technology.
There have always been many reasons for war. As an education leader with decades of service, warring against ignorance is my vocation. Our district and many others were able to flip an entire school or district in two weeks from physical to virtual academies for distance learning. Regionally, many leaders are warring against inequities and charitably serving others. Thanks to our corporate donations and supporters, computers, thousands of meals and groceries have been provided to our families and students.
As a people, we know that this too shall pass. As we engage in warfare for wellbeing and general welfare, it is my hope and the desire of many that things do not return to normal. We would rather things be forever better than before. Every bit of individual and collective wisdom, sacrifice, care, collaboration, charity, action, and leadership required to overcome this situation must last far beyond this decade and our lifetime.
The oppression from COVID-19 currently applies to all, not just people of color, different ethnic origins, religions, creeds.
Through this pandemic, all of America and the world are learning that our creeds must become deeds to meet everyone's needs if we plan to succeed.
When we do this well, we will win.
Historically, we have the power and opportunity to birth a 21st century reconstruction period. This pandemic will reveal and shape our character. It will also define us and all humanity in this decade, century, and era throughout all ages. It will form our future.
Together, we shall overcome. Then it is up to us to remain better than before.
Art McCoy is superintendent of the Jennings School District.