June 17, 2020
More than 12 weeks of staying sheltered at home has given me time to think. Now, designated as elderly, which I resent, I’ve learned that how the world sees me and my cohorts is different from how we see ourselves, and that my remaining days can be abruptly ended by a virus, even with all the precautions.
In past years, all my immediate family died suddenly. No goodbyes. So I really have an understanding of the families who were unable to be with their loved ones at the end of life.
Born in 1934, my life has been bracketed and shaped by political upheaval. I found that sentence in a New York Times article, and I really liked that. There was World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, civil rights, the World Trade Center, the women’s movement. The Me Too, the Black Lives Matter, the financial setbacks. Life is an ebb and flow. My lawyer used to say the pendulum swings.
So I would say to those in the world, don’t despair. Pick your battles. There are so many that need attention, but remember, we all may have one Earth, shrinking daily, animals becoming extinct, insects missing, plastic choking our oceans. So take care of the climate.
In 1985, South African playwright Athol Fugard was the keynote speaker at my organization, Washington Institute, which I chaired, and he accepted our Social Action Award with a stern speech. And then he was silent for too long. I was sitting next to his wife and we both looked up in alarm and saw that he was choking back tears, and finally he concluded by saying, “Take care of America.”