There is a New Possibility in the Air

By Louis Colombo (June 9, 2020)

What’s striking about Democratic proposals for police reform, aside from the awful optics provided by Pelosi and Schumer (best forgotten), is that proposals that would have seemed to most people pretty bold and forward looking a few weeks are already being met by charges that they don’t go far enough (they don’t). But the “obviousness” of this awareness shouldn’t be taken for granted.

Instead we should recognize a real win for all the folks involved in the protests – a shift in mass consciousness so that now the real conversation isn’t about whether chokeholds should be legal (duh, no), but what “defining the police means,” what that would like in action, what new resources and types of “first responders would take the place of police,” etc.

There’s a new spirit of possibility in the air, new worlds being not just imagined, but discussed, and to this we owe the protestors – the kids on the ground – a world of gratitude.



What the Left Should Know about Opening the Economy

By Louis Colombo (April 27, 2020)

I’ve seen too many posts implying that opening up the economy/getting back to work is simply an effort to boost the profits of the rich. Invariably, these posts come from folks on “the left.”

I won’t debate the truth in that claim, but if this is all that gets posted, seen, shared, communicated, then no wonder that many folks who don’t have the relative “luxury” of working from home, who are weighing the differences between food, housing, medicine, etc, get turned off. For many people, the need/desire to get back to work is about survival, and probably on another level, about self respect. We ignore this at our own peril.

Certainly, there are important questions that we should be asking about what is and should be normal, and I know many people, also on the “left” who are asking those questions and really doing the work.

Let’s not obscure that and push people to the right with a meme or post that’s too glib by half.

In a Properly Civilized World

By Louis Colombo (April 6, 2020)

In a properly civilized world, we would view this pandemic as nothing but a reminder of our interconnectedness to nature, a reminder that we are part of, but not above, nature.

We would treat this time as a time to pause, retreat, reflect, be with those we love, tend to those we care about.

But our world is not civilized, so instead, we are thrown into panic, anxiety, and despair, worried about making it through the month in the blind hope that next month things will return to “normal,” all the while forgetting that our date with finitude is the normal we forever try to suppress.

I Am Because We Are, and So We Will Rebuild in the Aftermath

By Louis Colombo (March 22, 2020)

Lots of doom and posts prophesying the end of the world. No doubt, these are some unsettling times and it’s hard to know where the bottom is. No doubt too that there’s lots of reasons to be concerned for yourself, your loved ones, and even folks you’ve never met.

But here’s the thing. From where I sit, it looks like the vast majority of people have agreed to disrupt their lives in some really radical ways, not just to protect themselves and their loved ones, but to stop this thing from spreading to the stranger they’ve never met.

Lots of folks are opening up with new ways of being in community online, sharing things with folks they don’t know, and for free. Folks are picking up the phone, checking in with neighbors they might never had occasion to speak to.

We’re recognizing – and hopefully not forgetting – the value of work we might have once ignored. We’re recognizing that we need support, all of, some more than others, and we’re doing so without shame or stigma. Let’s remember that.

I don’t know what a new normal will look like, but with any luck and a lot of courage, it just might look like something built more on love and solidarity, for in our moment of isolation, what are we learning if not how connected we all are, how much we need one another, how much community is the basis for our individuality. Hold that. I am because we are, and so we rebuild in the aftermath.

This will be bad for a while. It might get better and then worse before it gets better. We may see the worst in some folks. But I’m willing to bet that we’ll see the best in a whole lot more. And we will get through.