Give me a place to stand, and I will move the earth.
I can’t write to you today without acknowledging the turmoil sweeping over our country. A virus is ravaging our population. Unemployment and financial hardship are depressing our society. Fear and fire are scarring our cities. The whole planet is clenched in a paroxysm of death and devolution. Is this the apocalypse? I don’t think so.
I do think that we are living through an era of frightening uncertainty. What can we do?
Archimedes made his offer to move the earth based on the power of a lever. This is a time for us to look for what leverage is available to us.
In a time of quarantine and sheltering in place, it’s natural to want to withdraw from the world. That won’t make things better.
One thing we can do is to make our own position as solid as we can. When the gale winds blow and the riptides flow, will we be the ones swept away and crying for help? Or will we be the ones offering shelter to those we love?
As citizens, we have a duty to engage with our polity—to stand for civility, and justice, and conservation. All this is best done with a settled mind. And a settled mind is best achieved with a well-founded place to stand.