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  • Writer's pictureBeth Bowen

Urgent Survival

The past year has been filled with urgency. Leaders had to urgently address the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic. Communities across the country--and the world--had to urgently address the murder of George Floyd at the hands of law enforcement. Science had to urgently understand the etiology of the new coronavirus in order to produce effective and safe vaccines.

And now we see an urgency in our Federal government. The American Rescue Plan, the American Jobs Plan, and the American Families Plan, all introduced within the first 100 days of a new federal administration are urgently addressing the needs of American society for economic relief, broad-based job creation for infrastructure-building, and care for all of our children, regardless of age.

Urgency makes sense of disaster. Urgency plans quickly by pulling in knowledgable stakeholders and the best ideas to adapt to the effects of change. Urgency gathers large coalitions together to execute on a large-scale.

In these ways, urgency accepts the hand dealt to it and makes the best out of it.

I have to admit that I was wrong about President Joe Biden. I underestimated his grasp of the urgency of this moment. He didn't undertake the Presidency simply to win the election. He didn't revert to 'business as usual' after four years of disruption and chaos. Despite being an 'old guard' Democrat, President Biden has shown that he is truly interested in pursuing policies that work for the largest number of Americans regardless of where those ideas originated.

You can see the themes and plans from fellow Democrats such as Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar, and Ted Lieu in the large legislative packages listed above. You can see the zeitgeist being captured by the policies addressing corruption, economic inequality, injustice, and safety. This is not a President who came in with an agenda pulled from a strategist's playbook designed to simply win elections. This is an agenda of the People's priorities.

And I didn't think that the President would govern that way. But he is.

He is meeting the urgency not only for COVID relief and jumpstarting the economy but for the urgency for healing the American dream. Facing our demons of slavery and genocide; reckoning with the legacies they have created. Reasserting our place in the world--not as a bully who tells others how to live--but as a partner who says, what can we do to help? How can we make the world better for everyone?

The urgency of this moment lies in being honest with ourselves about who we are, who we have been, and who we want to be in the future.

My Urgency

My urgency is firmly rooted in my need to live my purpose by my own ethical standards. To understand my own character and know that when conflict arises, the conflict might not be between me and another person. The conflict might be between my ethics and the unethical situation I am forced into.

Urgency says, be tactical. Call on others, and gather a team. Listen. And invite in the changes.

Those changes might be uncomfortable. But I cannot afford to let it make me impatient. Not everything I want or need will happen overnight. And no one is expecting miracles. Impatience can make unrealistic demands amid ultimatums. Impatience can exclude stakeholders and build barriers. It can create negativity and destroy morale.

I can fight impatience by celebrating the little victories every day. Every step forward is a step closer to my authentic self.

For the US, it is urgent that we continue to put the good of the whole above the good of the individual. For that is what society, collective living, is--the solution to the urgent challenges of human survival.

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