As we begin to come out from lock downs and seek to resume daily activities, I have been listening to varying viewpoints about next steps our society should take.

There’s a lot of talk and column inches written about the “new normal.” For the record, I’m not a fan of the term. In my opinion, even in the best of times “normal” is best used to describe a town in Illinois.

We have all been through a great deal in the past 60 days. I am in profound awe of the generosity of many people who have provided support wherever they were able. I am also disheartened to see how quickly some can pass judgement on others. The hoarding of supplies makes me sad and angry at the same time. (Does that mean I’m sangry?)

A few thoughts as we reopen:

Now is the time to support local small businesses. Small businesses are the ones who are constantly asked to support every event, club, organization and community initiative. “We’ll get the downtown businesses to make a donation” is a common phrase when groups are brainstorming about something they want to do or figuring out how to pay for something they want to buy.

Now is your chance to pay businesses back for their support. Go and shop as if your life depended on it. After treading water for two months, local businesses need your support now, more than ever.

If your normal was shopping out of town but you were able to get what you needed locally, consider making those changes permanent.

If you have been spending time home with your family and enjoying it (after the arguments and home schooling were sorted out), the only thing stopping you from continuing to spend time is you. When life becomes more hectic (and it will) remember how special this time has been and work to schedule family time first.

Gasoline prices and auto insurance rates have fallen during this time. They will go back up when we return to normal. Instead of being upset about the increases, be grateful for the time at home and the still cheaper than March prices.

Finally, there’s a lot disparity about how people will feel about being in public. That’s OK, but as a society, we need to accept each other as we are. Want to wear a mask? Don’t want to wear a mask? Either is fine, but respect the choice of others. Staying six feet away from each other should be accepted as well. We all need our personal space.

There will be plenty of revisionist history in the coming weeks and months, along with plenty of Monday morning quarterbacking about our elected officials. I can understand this, but I think these comments from Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz last week, talking about reopening the economy frame the awful choices elected officials had to make early on: “This is one of those difficult things that, if we do this right, it'll appear like we're wrong because we didn't overrun the health care system,” he said. “It's a bit like someone who can't swim, and you keep them out of the water. Whether you can claim you kept them from drowning might have been a little debatable, but if they had jumped in the deep end, it would have been trouble."

Well said. Be safe out there!

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@theameryfreepress.com, telephone 715-268-8101 or write me at P.O. Box 424, Amery, WI, 54001.

Thanks for reading I’ll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.

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