The human spirit will not be conquered

Not giving in to despair and handwringing. Unsplash photo

The FilAm Editorial

Gloom and near despair are pervasive as we usher in 2022.

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 is running riot in our country, affirming that the virus is not done yet and will be around for months and even years to come.

The virus has led directly to a tsunami of hate for Asian Americans whose tangent link is the color of their skin and the way they look — the textbook definition of racism. Some Asian Americans now hunker down in the safety of their homes, petrified about going out and being subject to random attacks that could leave them maimed, or worse, dead.

The past year has been hard. In fact, the last two years have been horrible. There is no sugarcoating our collective experiences as a community in confronting the turn towards meanness we have encountered in our daily lives. While the physical toll has been horrendous, the mental harm inflicted by the virus has just been as horrific.

In many, many ways, the impact of being cooped up and masked is just as bad on our psyche. There is no way to describe the feeling of being perpetually under siege from a disease that leaves one gasping for the simple joy of breathing and unable to embrace the people we love.

Going forward, it increasingly becomes apparent that being masked and getting regular shots is the only way to proceed for now so we can have something that resembles a normal life. The virus has been that damaging to the way we function socially, leaving us for the most part isolated and cut off from children and grandchildren, parents and the joyous chaos of learning together in school.

But the human spirit we in the Filipino American community and the remarkably wider universe of our nation will not be conquered by what has happened in the last two years from going forward in 2022 and beyond. We recently watched a year-ender on one of the networks where they featured the joy and exuberance of good Americans doing what comes naturally for neighbors and strangers. One of the clips shows a veteran with prosthetic legs teaching a young boy how to walk with his own artificial limbs. It is those acts of kindness that speak to the fact that people of goodwill are worth celebrating as the New Year begins.

We are all too aware of the difficulties we face. But we can face them with a generosity of spirit which defines who we really are as Americans, of Filipino descent or otherwise.

Some 60 years ago, a young, incoming Catholic president asked us ‘what we can do’ for our country? The answer then, as it is today, is simple and heartfelt. We need to keep doing what is right for our community and our nation. We need to meet the challenges of our times with the abiding belief that good people will want and work toward better times. There will be the constant struggle and disappointment. But we will not give in to despair and handwringing.

We control our collective destiny and we should welcome 2022 to build on the inherent goodness of people. There is no other option but to put one foot in front of the other and make the world a better place.   

Have a wonderful and blessed 2022.

© The FilAm 2022

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