The Weeks That Were (July 2 - 15, 2021)

Well, it’s Friday again and another chance to walk through some of the news of the past few weeks as seen through the lens of my Twitter feed. After all, there’s only so much you can say in 280 characters. Sometimes a little context, perspective, and perchance humor are warranted?

The start of this month brought one of my favorite national holidays — Independence Day — the second one we had to celebrate amidst the pandemic. But I must admit, I find myself feeling inspired and grateful despite living in harrowing times. In a paraphrase of Alexis de Tocqueville, America’s greatness lies in the ability to repair our faults.

The 4th was not the only milestone date that July had to offer. On a more somber note, it’s hard to believe but half a year has passed since insurrectionists stormed the Capitol. I —and I believe most decent Americans— will not choose to forget. Our democracy depends on this vigilance.

The attempt to let the Big Lie overshadow the truth would be laughable if it wasn’t so dangerous (to read more about why, see our essay “The Big Lie Is A Big Deal”). Beyond the blatant attack on our freedoms and the rule of law, what we saw on January 6 was the culmination of a comprehensive march of lie-fueled autocracy. The images from that day are seared into the minds of millions of Americans but many Republican politicians and media personalities are determined to gaslight the nation about the truth around this ugly incident. If you’ll excuse my French, by way of a Texas turn of phrase: “don’t piss on my boots and tell me it’s raining.”

The efforts to recast the events of 1/6 distort reality by creating false narratives. Sadly this playbook is also being used by the same reactionary forces to undermine science - from the climate crisis to vaccines. In science, context and perspective are everything. I was reminded of that again —and couldn’t resist the chance to retweet— when I saw this humorous yet illuminating cartoon. When viewed through a narrow lens, the full picture of science cannot be seen nor understood.

It is hard to overstate the dangers of science miscommunication and misunderstanding. In the not-so-distant past, childhood diseases like polio were every mother’s nightmare. Now, thanks to vaccines, they have been largely eradicated (Yay, Science!) In our present day the threats of COVID-19 and its variants loom large and grow more threatening. This is not the time to be abandoning science and healthcare best-practices. Sadly, Tennessee is doing just that, and it’s not just for Covid. It’s a disgrace.

So I came across a picture peering back over the years. Where has time gone? I thought of so much. I couldn’t help but raise my hand (though an emoji) and weigh in. (Please excuse the ancient anchorman indulgence).

As the world adjusts to life within a pandemic, it seems that lately the next best thing to a shot in the arm (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson) is a shot of nature. Despite the darkness of our current challenges, I believe we can always find a spot of light to guide and inspire. Enjoy the clip below (and I hope you find a ray of sun in your own life).

Well that’s a walk through some highlights of the past few weeks as I saw it. Have a great weekend.

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