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What have we learned?

To the editor:

Did you ever have a teacher who punished the whole class because of the misbehavior of one or two students? It always seemed an unfair system, but it was quite effective, especially when I was one of the miscreants. Not wanting to incur the wrath of my classmates, I conformed, and we all benefitted.

Around the world, nations responded differently to the COVID-19 pandemic. The ones with leaders who imposed “draconian” measures on all citizens are now emerging from their isolation. They put the common good ahead of their individual freedom and are now reaping the rewards of their sacrifices. Our outcome, in contrast, has been an extended period of heightened health danger and economic hardship.

Perhaps there are other significant lessons to be learned from the pandemic. Even without a strong leader, our prolonged wrestling with this virus has forced us all to change some of our bad habits. The pandemic has exacerbated major cracks in our society: racism, economic inequality, and failure to address climate change. Since all these problems are related, progress on any front will affect the whole.

While confined to our homes, we have had time to do some serious soul-searching. May we emerge from this chapter better people, better citizens, and worthy of the freedoms afforded by our system of government.

Over 200,000 Americans have died from COVID-19. We can honor those who lost their lives through our actions now. As we did in elementary school, we can still learn from our mistakes.

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