Over the past year or so, we have all watched as our favorite diners have closed and loved ones have succumbed to the worst pandemic in recent history. Funding has dried up for nonprofits looking to plug the holes of our social system. In their place is an empty hole of desperation yet to be filled by effective leadership on either side of the aisle.
There is a new hope!
Instead of political platitudes being offered as a sacrifice to those without jobs, losing healthcare, or have experienced depression, we see a new spirit of volunteerism and resolution in our population.
New data from the powerful job social media platform LinkedIn shows that its members in the US added more than 110,000 volunteer activities to their profiles each month. That is more than twice the rate in 2017.
Moreover, the top ten organizations that experienced a surge in help were directly related to offering shelter, food, or medical assistance for those in need.
Every day we hear more and more news stories about political wars being waged on our behalf. We see the divide in our nation trickle down from the leadership and into the grocery stores.
Whether it is a red hat, or a COVID-19 mask, the separation of belief in data and scientific evidence has left most of us wholly shellshocked and exhausted. Yet, out of the midst of this confusion rises a new American spirit to help those in need.
This is the clarion call we should all be latching onto with both hands, gripping so hard that we never let go. Finally, here is a universal truth that we can all believe in: we can help.
The most significant advantage we had during WWII wasn’t our overwhelming force or air battle savvy. Instead, it was the ability of our general population to roll up their sleeves and chip in however they could.
Elderly men roamed the beaches to watch for incoming enemies. Women took up the call, began a new era of proud American workers. Kids scoured the back alleys of every small town to find scrap metal and fabric for the war effort.
The same could be happening right now if only we give it the air to breathe. If our leaders came together and considered the greater good of those being affected by COVID-19 in all industries and arenas, we could have a new ballgame.
The rollcall should be shouting from the steps of Congress that we need to be helping our fellow brothers and sisters at the local levels. Instead, they spend their time spouting hate-filled vitriol against opposition that resembles enemies more than compatriots.
We have a unique opportunity to focus the enduring spirit of Americans against a common enemy.
This is even more important now that the new Delta variant threatens to close down our economy once again. What better call to action than further damage to our pocketbooks.
There is an argument to be made that President Trump may have won the 2020 election had he met the challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic head-on.
If he had taken the bull by the horns and mobilized our nation to fight this virus as a single issue, together in unity, he would probably still be president today.
The same argument can be made for the current President Joe Biden. He currently faces an unending battle against an opposition party determined to strike down any policy that may be trumpeted by the Democrats in the mid-terms.
He would have an enduring legacy if only he could rally the troops to focus on fighting off the new Delta variant and working towards rebuilding.
This isn’t for lack of trying. Both of these men have done, or are doing, the best they can but cannot seem to get past the politics.
Meanwhile, nonprofits around the nation gladly accept more and more donations and volunteers to fill the gaps left by limp and divided leadership.
The heroes of tomorrow’s generation will not be from the military might of the US. It will be from those nurses, teachers, delivery services, and volunteers that found a way to make our country keep moving during such a devastating situation.
We do not need to focus on the bad to see the good in each other. The numbers speak for themselves. We are all fighting COVID-19 fatigue.
What we need now is empowerment. After a year of distrusting everything we read and see and dealing with one of the most significant social movements ever to hit the world stage, most of us are burnt out.
Let’s all make lemonade out of some sour lemons. Let us each find a local organization to offer help and support during this crazy time, even if for an hour a week.
Imagine what we could do if our entire country mobilized around a centralized goal. The richness of our diversity would surely be rewarded by the success of our great patriotism to help one another.
This time should not be when we huddle inside against the fear of the unknown but when we organize ourselves to find solutions.
When we as a nation rise against the troubles, we face and offer real solutions in the form of simple volunteerism. The American spirit is still here, buried under years of political mush, hoping to be reignited again.
We can make a difference together, but it must be motivated by one simple thought: we can help.
It doesn’t take much to offer assistance to those who are less privileged. Find your local Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, Big Brother/Big Sister, Meals on Wheels, or any local non-profit, and offer a helping hand for those who could use it the most.
If we cannot rely on our leaders to set the example, let our work be the example to the generations that follow.
God Bless America!
Written by: Emmanuel J. Osemota