By: Vanessa Burnett – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
🇺🇲 If you were wondering what the world would look like when a superpower goes down, we might get a chance to have a look.
Nobody knows what’s going to happen, but the US’s place in the world is almost certainly shifting long-term.
Hopefully our country doesn’t go totally down. I think people here who say that wouldn’t be so bad maybe haven’t looked at what failed countries look like. It’s not pretty when a government goes down, or is so deeply corrupted it’s no longer functional. Plenty of countries to look at for examples.
It’s going to take everything we have to hold this thing together. We’re going to have challenges like we’ve never seen. In the midst of death. If you think I’m being overly dramatic, then you probably haven’t been watching my stuff since early February. Or listening to people like Laurie Garrett, who sounds similar alarms.
We have countries likely to ban Americans from coming to visit for the foreseeable future. We’re going to have states and cities doing stuff like that here shortly, too. Soon those of us in the more disease-ridden states will be stuck here with ourselves and the plague people. That’s going to be super. Will the states who handle this better be willing to help us with medical response or equipment? Will they come help us bury our dead?
Yeah we could have done this a different way.
That’s not what we’re doing. So we’re going to have to find our way through in the chaos.
Here’s something that’s important:
It’s going to be much, much harder for our institutions to help keep people alive in the midst of chaos if we let civil society completely fall apart. It’s going to be much, much harder to get our institutions and our society to serve everyone equally and way better on the other side if the institutions and civil society doesn’t exist anymore, and we have to start from scratch. In bigger chaos.
The US survived a pandemic before, but the world was different then.
The threat here is different. The world is more interconnected, and system interruptions and failures have wider cascading effects. In many ways, we have less resilience and sustainability than in 1918-1919. Longer supply chains and complex system interdependencies create large-scale vulnerabilities. We’re already living some of the impacts. There’s more to come.
As we hold society together while we go through this, we need to incorporate more of that resilience and sustainability into those systems.
But the bigger point is that we’re going to need to do some work to hold things together.
I’ve been working on ways we can do that, and we’re putting a team together to help. More to come.
The point here is that we have to take it seriously, and we have to do some things. This democracy is not going to save itself. The chaos and the forces at work trying to tear it apart are powerful.
We need thousands trying all of the ideas to push back. All of the things. And we can. We can absolutely push back.
But that won’t work if we’re cowed; hiding out in our hidey-holes living in active denial.
There are things we can do.
Some of the stuff we’re not going to be able to stop. Like the shift in the world order. That’s probably going to happen at some level one way or the other.
But I think we can hold the country itself together. I think we can hold this civil society together. I think we can help more people stay alive. I think we can help build a better society as we go through this and get to the other side.
We can’t do it alone. And we can’t do it if we don’t start.
And we can’t do it if we think everything is fine and going to go back to normal.
We don’t get to go back. Wishing and praying won’t make it so.
From here we go forward. We grieve. We take moments when we need to. And then we dig in and keep at it.
Keep the faith. Whatever kind of faith you want. Faith in humanity. Faith in a future.
We can absolutely build a better society. We can absolutely build one that serves everyone better.
So let’s figure it out.
In the meantime, be safe. Love your people. Love any people. And try not to get dead.
Vanessa Burnett is a disruption coach and consultant at Counterfear.com, helping people and organizations navigate and create disruption. A career in disaster management, resilience-building, infrastructure, and technology innovation informs her current work. Vanessa is also the President of the Shift the Country PAC, working to foster tipping points across the US through connection, community, and resilience to create real world shift.
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