Just a few days ago, the lives of so many of us here in our Island City continued with our normal daily routines. Now the world around us has entered some altered state of being, where the norms of society have changed to a strange unimaginable new existence.
Fear of the unknown, fear for our loved ones, fear of running out of supplies, fear of jobs, fear for our finances, fear of losing income, fear for our health, fear for our safety, and on and on.
Words from national leadership can rally a nation, motivate citizens to look beyond their individual concerns, and call a nation to arms to prevent disaster. Unfortunately, unlike Franklin Roosevelt whose words of “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself” rallied a nation, we have Donald Trump passing the blame on to his predecessors and claiming no responsibility. Talk about an altered state of reality.
COVID-19 unfortunately offers current demagogues the missing part of the equation for advancing their claim on leadership during these challenging times — fear.
Control the message through mass media, divide the nation, use lies to cover-up hideous motives, and exploit our fears to consolidate their grip on power. Very scary indeed!
Unfortunately, we here in our Island City find ourselves in a leadership vacuum with the recent loss of our Mayor at such a time of uncertainty. The uncharted territory of that loss and what it means for our City Commission, our city government and the tough choices that will need to be made in the days and weeks ahead makes the current situation even more unpredictable.
Thankfully we have strong city management in place, ready and able to serve our city during the troubling times ahead. This solid leadership team, serving as helmsmen for safe navigation through rough seas, is a ray of hope and optimism shining through an uncertain and stormy horizon.
The Island City is blessed to have the excellent leadership of our City Manager Leigh Ann Henderson and a team of dedicated staff members. This reality is an enormous comfort as we move ahead without a strong Mayor, with a missing official on our Commission and through the next eight months leading up to municipal elections that will elect a new Mayor and two City Commissioners in a time of such uncertainty. This new altered reality is both troubling and unprecedented for our residents.
This troubling reality goes way beyond the borders our Island City, way beyond national borders, stretching worldwide in a global community equally divided as ever in modern times. Comfort and confidence in proven world leadership are severely lacking on the world stage. The opportunity for deceivers and false prophets to claim leadership has been gathering momentum over the past few years. Now with such global fears and uncertainty, the dangers to our democratic values, our open and free society, are under the greatest threat of our lifetime.
I find myself profoundly challenged to end this article with some optimism and words of hope. No one knows what tomorrow will bring for our daily lives, the lives of our loved ones, the lives of our neighbors and friends, the lives of our children and our community.
I fear tomorrow as never before. Friends being laid off, businesses shutting down, schools closing, public gatherings banned, public health concerns and the safety of our family are now our new altered reality.
Tomorrow morning has such uncertainty that many dread the approaching sunrise with fear rather than with hope and joy of a new day. Tomorrow brings new updates from city, county and state officials that will greatly impact our lives and challenge us all to be better people.
As our city, our nation and our global community cry out for leadership through these troubling times, we must be vigilant in our beliefs, our hopes, and our desires for a better tomorrow. Each and every one of us is challenged as never before to ensure that life in our Island City and far beyond our borders shall always remain just better here.