COVID-19 has dramatically affected our lives since March. Sometimes it feels like the only thing that changes is the date on the calendar. At times, it’s like a bad dream that never seems to end. It appears that we are going to be forced to deal with the virus until there is an effective vaccine that is widely available.
During the crisis, one group whose actions has garnered universal admiration is health care workers. Another group that is overlooked are people who have been able to take a bad situation and improve it using a little creativity.
Every summer, NCSY has a bike fundraiser, where some riders join the Hudson Valley Ride that starts in Poughkeepsie. During the two times that I went on the Hudson Valley Ride as a non-NCSY participate, I counted about 15 riders riding for NCSY.
This year, this bike tour, along with other bike tours, has been cancelled due to the pandemic. However, NCSY did not give up and had a few local rides. One of them was on Sunday morning, August 9, on the boardwalk in Far Rockaway. The ride was early in the morning, before beachgoers showed up. There were many more riders than usual in just this local ride. They also included young children and teenagers who are not usually on the Hudson Valley Ride. NCSY took a bad situation and made it better than before.
It is ironic that it was on the boardwalk in Far Rockaway. Before superstorm Sandy, the boardwalk was mostly an iconic wooden boardwalk. It was no fun for bike riders. After Sandy, I saw the devastation that had been done to the existing boardwalk; it was destroyed. Subsequently, they built a new boardwalk, which is concrete and much wider than the original, making it is easier to ride now than before. This is another example of dealing with a bad situation and making it better than before.
The court system has been subject to a lot of criticism by those who were upset about closing the courthouse and then the slow pace of reopening. One change that I am happy with is that the court is now allowing conferences by Skype instead of having to waste time going to the courthouse and then sitting and waiting forever to conference for a few minutes. This is just one example of not having to spend time traveling and waiting for something to happen which is a recurring problem in the court system.
Whether or not you plan to vote for Joe Biden, his personal story is one that should give us hope in being able to overcome the adversity of COVID-19.
He grew up with a stutter and was able to conquer it. Although I never had had a stuttering problem, for years I have had the problem of speaking too fast and not enunciating my words. I still have not been able to eliminate both. Thus, Biden’s overcoming his stuttering and entering a field that requires excellent public speaking shows an ability to overcome adversity.
In November 1972, Biden won the election for senator for Delaware. Then, in December 1972, right before he was going to start his January term, his 30-year-old wife Neilia and his thirteen-month daughter Naomi were killed in a car accident; his two sons Hunter and Beau were seriously injured. Biden had to take care of his two sons as a single parent while also being a senator.
In 2015, when Biden was thinking about running for president, his son Beau died of cancer. He was only 46.
His other son, Hunter, has not exactly been a model child. I do not think it’s a stretch to conclude that the death of his mother and sister, in the accident he survived, had a big impact on him. Hunter has had an alcohol and drug problem and fathered a child out of wedlock; he has also used his father’s name to get a board position on a Ukrainian company, Burisma.
Joe Biden decided to run for president again for the 2020 election. He was beaten badly in Iowa, New Hampshire, and Nevada. People were counting him out again. Then he won in South Carolina and rolled to the nomination. He is doing this at an age when most people are retired.
We are now starting to consider how we are going to deal with Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Many people are upset about the current situation. We need to get strength from those who overcame adversity and took a bad situation and improved themselves - and others - because of it.