Where the streets have no name
I remember learning that Bono, lead vocalist for U2 (assuming anyone exists that might not know who Bono is), wrote the lyrics for “Where the streets have no name” about identity. It was a response to the fact that it was easy to identify one’s religion and economic status simply based on the street on which they lived.
This was in Belfast and it’s probably true in most places these days, too. The one thing that self isolation has helped to showcase is the irony of an equalization that takes place when we are all subject to a microscopic virus that is hell bent on uprooting life as we know it, and at the same time, the very real inequities that exist to respond based on one’s zip code.
I am no longer qualifying my writing with the precursor “without getting political” because, as it turns out, everything is political these days – including a virus – whether we like to or not. So, this is just a warning of sorts to say that my intention is not to state my opinions as fact nor to make excuses for having opinions. That’s the beauty of choice – no one has to read, believe or otherwise change their opinions on anything.
Now that that has been established: It saddens me that we are so divided as a nation based on where we live, particularly in light of a virus that connects us to each other in ways we still have yet to fully realize since, believe it or not, we are really in its infancy still. I don’t believe that any governing figure truly wants to keep businesses closed and see our economy further dive into depths not seen since the Great Depression. How could this possibly be a smart move for anyone politically?
At the same time, we have to ask ourselves to what extent we are willing to make health decisions for those in the most disenfranchised zip codes – and yes, they exist in every state – even those with lower Covid-19 numbers expected to yet rise.
Our streets have names and these names are often associated not just where we live but how we live, whether it is our decision or not. If we can not see the connection between us as citizens of one nation then at least we should be compelled to stop sitting on a moral high horse without caring whether disenfranchised communities are left to fare for themselves because their ability to socially distance is less, because their access to health – both care and well-being is less, because their ability to rise from an economic downturn is less and yes, because their overall value as human beings is less.
Covid-19 is a wake up call to who we really are as people – not as Americans, or Democrats, or Republicans, or Christians or Jews or Muslims or Parents or Children or Small Business owners or Teachers or Front-line workers but as people first. If not now, then never.
It’s time for us to believe we live in one neighborhood and for just once, treat each other as we all live on one street with no name but a common direction.
Until next time,