Things sure have changed since our March print edition released. Within a week of the issue hitting stands, our immediate community saw its first positive COVID-19 cases, California heeded a statewide stay-at-home order, and we told tourists to stop coming to Tahoe/Truckee.

Our country and community were forced to adapt quickly to a “new normal.” Alongside, Moonshine Ink adjusted promptly (see p. 11). We are all learning on the fly — social distancing, how to have a peaceful home with everyone cooped up, surviving great economic changes (see p. 27) — and fortune hasn’t given us a whole lot of time.

As I type these words, we are still in the thick of it. There is cautious optimism in many parts of the country, ours included, that quick drastic reactions have curtailed the disease’s spread yet experts warn we are far from the end.

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“Epidemics, like disasters, have a way of revealing underlying truths about the societies they impact,” wrote Anne Applebaum early in March in The Atlantic. This virus has highlighted our dearth in preparation and left us with a severe lack of test kits and backlogs of testing across the nation. It also put in unfortunate sharp relief the deep divisions that have hampered political and cultural developments for a long time, which directly and detrimentally affected the U.S. response to this novel coronavirus.

When we get through this, which we will, and there is more time for reflection, big changes are likely to come in logistical preparations for future catastrophic threats. But beyond the material, I hope for a more profound shift. I wish for and believe we can heal these divisions that stymie our country. And I think I found the answer on a bumper sticker.

Around the time that the Ink’s March edition was being delivered, I was standing in the kitchen, reflecting on the vitriol that happens daily in legislative halls around the country and the slow U.S. response to COVID-19, when I asked out loud, “I wonder what the Dalai Lama thinks about the state of our world.” Not more than two hours later, as I was biding time waiting for my boyfriend, I ended up flipping through a basket of bumper stickers at New Moon Natural Foods. What happened next was eerie. The last sticker directly answered my question, with this notable quote from the Dalai Lama XIV: “Compassion is the radicalism of our time.”

The divisiveness in our country is, quite frankly and simply, enabled by the ability to see people as an “other.” We’ve lost the care for our countrymen as a whole and instead stubbornly insist on walled-off camps — in geography, media choices, and political stances.

This virus doesn’t afford that luxury. It knows not our contrived boundaries. We are all in this together. As one, we must rise to the challenge or sink in our failures.

It’s a point of reflection. Do we realize we are all connected? Or splinter further?

My hope and belief is that we can truly change and make compassion the rule of the land.

~ The rolling news about COVID-19 has been dizzying. For a complete local record of key milestones, see Moonshine’s Tahoe/Truckee Coronavirus Live Updates story online. It is updated almost daily.

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