IDEAS: ‘I’d really like the freedom to hug my kids again,’ guest columnist

Note from Community Impact Editor Amelia Robinson: this commentary is set to appear on the Dayton Daily News Ideas and Voices page Sunday, July 5.

This week’s guest columnists were asked to reflect on the notions of freedom and/or patriotism .

The coronavirus pandemic, national protests and calls for reform that followed the killing of George Floyd, a black man, by Minneapolis police, have caused many to ponder what it means to be an American.

Other columns to be featured on the page are embedded.

Sarah Willhelm Greathouse is an advocate of all things Dayton and voting. She works at the Montgomery County Board of Elections and has three amazing kids that she misses very much.

I have COVID-19.

I don’t know how or where or even when I picked it up. But as of this writing, it has been over three weeks since I hugged my kids. I’m not sure when I’ll come out of quarantine, or even be completely healthy again.

And I feel let down by my team. Meaning, all of us. In teamwork, we all work toward a single goal. Every piece of the work supports or complements the goal. But that’s not happening right now.

As Ohio approached re-opening, there was a spirit of teamwork. If we all wore masks, kept respectful distance, and prioritized safety, we could re-open the economy and begin to return to something that felt almost normal. Together we could achieve our shared goal of living our lives again.

Instead, teamwork became a group project, where some people do just enough to get a grade. And my grade depends on your work. Some in the group rushed back to stores and restaurants by throwing around words like “personal freedom” and “liberty.” They rejected masks, ridiculed safe distancing.

I get it, masks suck. They also work.

Because the group isn’t acting as a team, we are failing. In the four months since coronavirus struck, we have already lost 130,000 American lives, and suffered more than 2.6 million known infections.

People need each other. Americans in particular share a collective consciousness that defines us. It is in our founding documents:

We hold these truths to be self-evident…

We the people…

United we stand…

Every challenge we have overcome as a nation, we have faced together.

Nationwide blackouts, ration cards, victory gardens, war bonds, scrap metal donation, and personal sacrifice defined the war effort in World War II. In the four years of U.S. involvement in World War II, we suffered 670,000 casualties and 405,000 deaths.

But now, we are divided when we can least afford it.

America is at her best when we are a team, working hard and sacrificing to defeat our adversaries. The threat now is internal.

Really, really internal.

We need the team.

Please, as we celebrate July Fourth, wear your masks and be safe.

I’d really like the freedom to hug my kids again.

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