Taking stock and looking forward

The conjunction of the coronavirus pandemic, our immense economic dislocation, and the sweeping protests over racial injustice call for strong responses. 

By

Opinion

June 12, 2020 - 2:53 PM

Thousands of demonstrators gather to protest against the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody, on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, June 6. Photo by Yuri Gripas/Abaca Press/TNS

Sometimes politics meets the personal, head on. This is one of those times. On June 14, I turn 75. On June 22, Michel and I celebrate our 52nd wedding anniversary. Forty-one years ago this month, we moved to Kansas, and one year after that our son was born. Happy 40th, Dakota.

Ordinarily, such a grouping of personal mileposts would lead to reminiscence and reflection. But these are no ordinary times. The conjunction of the coronavirus pandemic, our immense economic dislocation, and the sweeping protests over racial injustice have rendered reminiscing insignificant, if not irrelevant. 

These historic circumstances do require powerful short-term responses. Governors and mayors must cope with diminishing resources and overwhelming policy requirements. Moreover, the crises produce simultaneous, contradictory demands on both citizens and leaders.

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