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May 2020

How to live through these tremendously changing times?  I love reading “big picture” histories to try (not always successfully) to get a grasp on how our world has come to today.  Just think that humans have been living on this planet for several hundreds of thousands of years, but only in the last few hundred have so many changes come so quickly.  Technology and capitalism and more have changed the way human beings are able to satisfy their basic human needs.  

We are now relying on our federal, state, and local governments to protect us during this

pandemic.  We have seen our local governments, both city and county, be especially proactive. 

On April 17, the Commonwealth Club hosted a virtual event moderated by Terry Christensen with Cindy Chavez, president of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, and Jeff Smith, Santa Clara County Executive Officer, on the subject of “COVID-19: Santa Clara County and the Future”.  The recording of this event is now available to all.  If you have not already heard this, I urge you to listen to our elected officials who seem to honestly try to walk the line between protecting the health of all residents with foresight and nuance.  

But how did we get here?  Knowledgeable people have been warning us for years that a large pandemic would come “someday”.  And now, one is here.  It is a big test of our systems:  governmental, food supplies, health care.  It makes us think about what is really important in our lives. 

The League takes action based on positions formed through consensus of informed members.  And we have a lot of positions.  One paragraph in “Meeting Basic Human Needs” seems especially apropos today:  "Persons who are unable to work, whose earnings are inadequate or for whom jobs are not available have the right to an income and/or services sufficient to meet their basic needs for food, shelter, and access to health care.”

Because so many people are not having their basic needs met, more and more people will hopefully be open to a real discussion about the kind of world we want to live in.  

What if we start thinking about the best outcomes of this crisis? 

  • Maybe everybody will start voting -- and vote carefully.  

  • Maybe we can rebuild the economy--from the bottom up.  

  • Maybe now is the time for a public health system for all.  

  • Maybe we actually reverse carbon emissions in time.  

What do you want to happen?  The world needs voices of reason and to engage in public debate about how to understand where we are today and what we should do about it.  If not now, when?

I hope all of you and your families and friends are healthy.  See you on ZOOM!

Carol Watts, President


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