This year, 2020, is turning out to be the most disruptive of our lives.

In March, many of us left our workplaces on short notice to work from home. Seven months later, we are still unsure when we will return.

Those less fortunate lost their jobs, and thousands of businesses were forced to close.

The coronavirus pandemic has worsened with time, which was predicted, though we hoped for the opposite. Millions have become infected worldwide and in the U.S. alone, more than 210,000 people have been killed by the disease.

We are fearful, uncertain, on edge.

Every day, the news is horrible on most fronts. Devastating fires, floods and hurricanes spurred by climate change, shootings, racial injustice and more.

Television media outlets try to insert at least one heartwarming story into their nightly broadcasts — a sad commentary on just how bad things are.

Children are tossed about, having to learn from home, or in person, or both, surely wreaking havoc on their psyches — not to mention the role fear must play in their day-to-day lives. They wonder if they will get sick from the virus. Will their parents die from it?

I used to think about how sad it is for children of divorced parents to be shuffled from one home to the other, week to week or weekend to weekend. Add a pandemic to those disruptions and the scenario is that much worse.

Will their lives ever be normal again?

As if things couldn’t degenerate more, our president is sick with COVID-19, three weeks before a presidential election whose outcome will gauge the trajectory of the country, and our lives, for the foreseeable future.

Others around the president also are sick, and the White House is operating on a skeleton crew. Many of our top military leaders are in quarantine.

Could we have more reason to be afraid?

The unimaginable is happening, right before our very eyes, and we are helpless to do anything about it.

For a country that has always exhibited and exuded strength, we are now vulnerable to those who hate our form of government and our values and would seek to harm us.

This is a moment in history that should serve as a big lesson.

How will we view this time 10, 20, 30 years from now?

What will we have learned from it? Will we have learned?

How many people will have died, how many lives irrevocably changed?

Our country has experienced a devastating fall from grace — one we should prevent from ever happening again.

We older Americans have seen a lot over the years, but this tops it all.

It is unconscionable that we are raising children whose first experience of the world is fraught with trauma from an infectious, deadly disease that is out of control, a government in chaos, racial strife, hatred, greed and thirst for power.

We can and must do better than this.

And, God willing, we shall.

Amy Calder has been a Morning Sentinel reporter 32 years. Her columns appear here Saturdays. She may be reached at [email protected]. For previous Reporting Aside columns, go to


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