This is our Apollo 13 moment.
As the headlines continue to challenge any expectation of a unified, American response to the COVID-19 crisis, I’ve been considering the perspective required to meet the opportunities for improvement and growth in the COVID and post-COVID eras. The headlines convey a constant tension between private and public good that’s quickly been leveraged along (largely) party lines as capitalism vs. socialism or Open Economy vs. Stay at Home.
This is a false, misleading, dangerous, and disappointing binary. Making this an either/or moment cynically presupposes that humankind, when faced with the greatest crisis of our lifetimes, will be influenced by fear and emotion as opposed to a thoughtful and empathetic — and uniquely human — ability to assess, imagine, design, and build a better path forward.
I’m reminded of a scene in the movie Apollo 13, where NASA Flight Director (at top on the right and again above as played by Ed Harris) scrambles his team of engineers to bring the imperiled astronauts safely home. “Failure,” he tells them, “is not an option.”
The team dumps all the parts found inside of an Apollo capsule onto a table and they begin to brainstorm their teammates out of the jam. This is our Gene Kranz moment and we’re all engineers now. There has never been a greater need for us (and our leaders) to unpack the “where we are” and put everything out on the table. This is our chance to leave old political battles — formulated and fought even in times of relative prosperity — behind. We should be considering all aspects of our societal and economic infrastructures (including personal relationships least impacted by politics) in this new era of uncertainty and potential scarcity. It’s a rare chance for us to pause, rethink, and redo. With that examination, we have the opportunity to realign our policies and politics to better reflect our inner values as opposed to headline hyper-partisanship.
Dig a little deeper I’d appreciate your thoughts.
Let me know how you see us improving the present condition. into what I was reading when this thought struck me.
Joseph Kopser — USTomorrow Co-founder and Founding Chair
Originally published at https://ustomorrow.medium.com on May 21, 2020.