‘We do not learn from experience… we learn from reflecting on experience.’John Dewey
Before we finally close the door on 2020, we should take a moment to reflect on the year.
We need to remember all those we lost this past year. Whether from COVID, or cancer, or heart disease, or stroke, or violence, or other diseases and natural causes, we have lost far too many people.
We need to remember all we have learned in 2020.
We always knew that our first responders and health professionals were essential, we now know that delivery drivers, pharmacists, grocery store workers, janitors, truckers, and so many others are the ones who kept us healthy, clothed, fed, and secure.
We learned that teachers are even more remarkable than we ever gave them credit for. They pivoted on a dime from in school to virtual learning to hybrid and every combination thereof. They created new lessons, found new ways to engage and interact, and keep children curious and educated.
We managed to live without sports and entertainment and found new ways to connect with family, friends, nature, and our communities.
We saw a successful return to space through private company launching from American soil.
We managed to safely and successfully fast-track a vaccine to change the course of this pandemic and bring a sense of normalcy back to our chaotic world.
There have been other medical advances that have improved the lives of patients around the country and around the world. We must continue to invest in research to ensure this momentum continues.
As we welcome in 2021, I remain hopeful and optimistic that we can take these tough learned lessons and create a better tomorrow.
That we learn to be respectful and civil to our neighbors and fellow countrymen. We do not have to agree with each other, but we do have to live together. Our differences should not divide us, but provide opportunities to collaborate and to improve. We all want a better world for our children and for each other. Kindness does not take an additional effort but makes a huge difference in how we interact.
We need to continue to remain engaged in politics and policy, to stand up for what we believe in, and to vote those beliefs. Individualism remains much more important than party loyalty. We need to continue to improve the processes to make it easier and more secure for everyone to cast their ballot. Government works best when ALL voices are heard.
We have learned how important our health is and access to care. It is time we put aside the politics and find a way to ensure everyone has consistent access to quality, affordable care. No one should have to choose between medicine and food, or choosing between losing their home or losing their child.
We must continue to fight for equity and equality across the country. Our ‘freedoms’ are meaningless if they’re not applied equally. As good citizens, we have a responsibility to ourselves and our country to do better.
Finally, we must prioritize education and ensure that truth and facts are the basis of our national discourse. We need to encourage investment in science and technology, not just to improve medical outcomes, but to ensure our assets are protected in ever-increasingly connected digital world.
If we can launch a rocket to space, we should be able to do so many simpler, yet important, things. We just have to put our collective minds and efforts behind it.
Thank you for the friendship, the debate, the support, and the commentary. Whether we agree or not, my life is richer for each and every one of you.
My wish, as always, is for a healthy and happy New Year to you and your families.