I can say with absolute conviction that I am the least political person on the planet. My sister once noted during a Christmas breakfast that I’m very silent on the subject of politics and wondered why. For a million dollars and a booked event, I couldn’t tell you why it’s never interested me. I couldn’t tell you if President Trump is trying to rush everyone back to work to bolster his campaign, and more importantly I do not care. I couldn’t tell you if Governor Cuomo is doing his press conferences to insert himself as a late Presidential candidate in 2020, and more importantly I do not care. I’m not inside the minds of these folks so I cannot presume to talk about why they do what they do. And let me repeat – I DO NOT CARE. What I care about, and where I tend to focus most of my attention, is data. So let’s take a quick look at the data:
- Data Point One – people are dying from the coronavirus. Stop right there. I don’t need to trot out figures, infection rate, mortality rate. People are, in fact, dying.
- Data Point Two – the economy is crashing. Stop right there. I don’t need to compare it to 2001 or 2008. Unemployment is on the rise and businesses are disappearing overnight.
The beauty of data points for me is the ability to quickly identify a problem, and apply a solution, ignoring all the background noise marginally related to the data set. The problem with the data above is that the cause of the data is the same, and its creating two outcomes that oppose each other. How do you fight a virus that thrives on large group gatherings in an economy that thrives on large group gatherings? I don’t have the answer, and I promise no one else does either at this moment. So it would seem logical for us to acknowledge we are dealing with a situation that is going to require us to abandon the “I’m Right, You Are Wrong” thinking we embrace as Americans. Can we find a way to come together and actually learn to concede both sides of an argument? By doing so, maybe we redirect some of our energy we expend in defending our hill towards a solution. Is it possible for the greatest medical minds and the greatest economic minds to view this from both sides and come up with a solution? A non-political solution!
If you’ve read this far, your two takeaways should be I’m not political, and I want everyone to work together. I feel today I need to preference any talking points lest be accused of wanting to kill my elderly parents, or wanting to drive the country to socialism. I’m just a guy in an industry under siege looking for some hope. And hope is usually found when one side of an argument is no longer drowning out the other. Hope arrives on the back of balance in most cases. Notice I didn’t say victory. This is not about winning or losing. This is about hope and the power it has to drive you to a positive outcome.
Think about how you feel on a Monday with a tough week of work ahead of you. You check the weather forecast and they are already talking about a washout. That feeling you get when the forecast is so definitive, no possibility of sunshine, drains you and causes you to immediately say your cancelling all weekend plans even though you have four more days to go before the weekend is here. You’ve abandoned hope because the experts have told you to do so. Now think how you feel when the forecast changes a little and they are still talking about rain, but there is a possibility of some sunshine on Sunday. You immediately start making plans for Sunday. Maybe I’m making a poor comparison between getting rained on and contracting a life threatening illness, but my illustration is fair when it comes to the human psyche. Hope doesn’t come in the form of government bailouts or stimulus packages. Those are band aids and the definition of a band aid is a device meant to cover up a wound. Like any band aid, if you can’t stop the bleeding the band aid becomes obsolete and deeper measures are needed before the wound becomes fatal. Unfortunately, we are trying to cover up two wounds and I’m not sure we have the right size band aids in our box.
I’ve become sick of hearing “these are unprecedented times”. How do we change that to “I have an unprecedented solution!” I’m not an epidemiologist or an economist, so I don’t pretend I have a solution to the virus or ailing economy. I can, however, talk about the debilitating effects of depression and what it feels like. I can speak clearly that depression can often feel like the loss of all hope. The inability to see a clear path to happiness. The unbelievable weight of sadness that sits on top of you from one day to the next because you can’t find that sliver of sunshine. I also know that when you do find that hope, get a sense of a future, that the weight comes off and you get a high like none other. And you start to see a future. You start to see a path to better days and you start coming out of your dormant state and making plans.
The general feeling I have right now is there is no positive ending in sight. At least, not for those of us in the event industry. So along that vein, I don’t have an ending – good ending – to this article. All I have is hope. Hope that we stop cancelling 2020 and using the phrase “see you in 2021”. Hope that we find a vaccine soon. Hope that my partners in the event industry answer their phone, and I have a reason to call them very soon. Hope that all professional sports get a chance in 2020. I don’t need politics. I don’t want stimulus checks in my bank account. If you can Venmo me a little HOPE…