Del. Ken Plum: A New Normal

Del. Ken Plum/File photo

This is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum (D), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

Our personal lives will be returning to what we can call a more usual pattern of living over the next several months as the threat of the coronavirus passes or as a treatment or vaccine is developed. There will at some point be an official lifting of the stay-at-home requirement, hopefully when the medical experts say it is safe rather than when an angry crowd insists on it. In the meantime I think it may be useful to review what we have learned over the past several months and to consider what we have learned that will impact the way we live our lives in the future.

Every story will be different, and I ask that you please understand that as I muse about how my life may have been changed I understand that there are many others whose lives have been changed much more deeply than I can ever fully understand or appreciate. My heartfelt sympathy goes out to those who have lost or will lose family or friends to the coronavirus. My strongest appreciation goes to those who have fought the virus day after day as nurses, doctors, police officers, technicians and others who have had to walk into the face of the virus every day to help others while we stayed away at home. I will never look at all those in the health services the same way again. The bravery, the selflessness, and the dedication leave me in awe.

As someone in government service I have long been aware of the inequities in our economies and in some aspects of our community. The new normal has brought to me a renewed commitment to work for equity in our society. As members of the wealthiest nation ever on the earth, we cannot allow to continue the gross disparities in income and wealth that have grown greater for too many years in our history. We cannot allow people to go hungry and to be without health care. No one should feel comfortable returning to the society of the past once the gross inequities of that society have so glaringly been brought to our attention.

Our neighbors and our friends have become closer even as we have had to maintain a social distance. As we can officially return to a more open society, I trust that we can all make a commitment to reject blaming, hating, and bullying that have become much too evident in recent time. I plan to continue to speak out more strongly for justice and compassion and against inequality and hatred.

On a personal note, I hope that the new normal will leave me with a habit of exercising more with the wonderful programs that are available on streaming media, eating less, and being more mindful of the blessed life I live with a greater appreciation of the amazing people who are my family, friends and supporters. I would be pleased to learn of your hopes for the new normal. Write to me at [email protected].

File photo

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