The following editorial appeared in the Reading Eagle. It does not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Tribune-Democrat.
As we mark the unofficial end of summer in this most unusual year, it’s a good time to reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going as a community, state and nation.
Recent weeks have given us much reason to be discouraged.
After a Black man was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, there was unrest in that city and elsewhere. Violence, looting and rioting led some civilians to decide to act as vigilantes and try to tame the unrest themselves. That resulted in further conflict and more deaths.
People should be able to agree on a few basic ideas here.
There’s nothing wrong with peaceful protests, but acts of violence and destruction must not be tolerated. Such criminal behavior is plainly wrong, and creating mayhem in the streets only serves to hurt the cause the perpetrators claim to support.
And the response to rioting, looting, etc. should be left in the hands of trained professionals. Disagreement with how local authorities are responding is no excuse for people to take matters into their own hands and risk further inflaming the situation.
Of course we have little agreement.
Instead these issues have become grist for our bitter national debate.
It’s the same troubling trend we’ve seen during the coronavirus pandemic. An occasion that demands national unity instead is tearing us further apart.
Still, each of us has some power to make things better, at least in the corner of the world we inhabit. Avoid the temptation to lash out at people who disagree with you. Engage in reasoned, respectful dialogue. And do your part to help during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Everyone should know the health precautions by now: wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash your hands, etc. This advice still applies.
Stemming the spread of the virus will remain tremendously important as temperatures cool and people spend more time inside.
A few simple practices can make a big difference.
The other thing people should do is support local businesses as they try to survive this unprecedented situation.
Restaurants in particular are looking at huge challenges.
With strict limits on in-person dining, many have compensated for it by expanding outdoor seating. That won’t be practical as we get deep into the fall.
We urge readers to consider takeout and delivery options now and in the coming months to help keep these beloved businesses afloat.
The school year is underway, and of course that’s being affected by the pandemic as well.
Many districts are holding classes online either all or part of the time, while some have opted for full in-person instruction.
Please keep our students and educators in your thoughts as they deal with the challenges of this time.
Take special care to show appreciation and respect to our high school seniors. The class of 2020 deservedly received an outpouring of love from our communities as rites such as prom and traditional graduation ceremonies were taken from them.
Remember that the class of 2021 is also losing a lot. While things might be better by spring, right now even those seniors attending school in person are dealing with serious restrictions on activities and interaction.
And the pandemic has deeply complicated the college application process.
With all this in mind, let’s treat this year’s crop of seniors the same way we did for those in the spring.
With so much out there to trouble us, how can we enter the late summer and fall with an upbeat, productive attitude?
We advise turning to the Kid Superintendent.
The Reading School District opened its school year with a video featuring a pep talk from 9-year-old Jermaine Edwards II, stepping in to deliver the year-opening address typically given by Superintendent Dr. Khalid Mumin.
The entertaining and inspiring video went viral. It was filled with excellent advice for honing a positive attitude in tough times, but one simple statement stands out and applies to everything else we’ve just discussed: “Let’s give each other grace, not grief.”
Those are words for all of us to live by.