I am concerned for a number of reasons right now. I am concerned about the health and welfare of individuals because of the virus, I am concerned about the lack of trust and understanding of basic science by our leadership and the population, and I am concerned about the divided landscape of our nation. I see us being wedged further apart during a time when we should be coming together.

People have listened to one, comfortable side of political arguments in their private echo-chambers for so long that it no longer matters what information comes out of their news outlet, they believe what they are told. This is problematic for so many reasons.

I am concerned that there are serious problems embedding themselves into our democracy, eating it away. We are so hyper focused on the headlines that we forget to step back and to see the greater picture. I say “people” and “we” because I believe that most of us are guilty of this, and it is up to us as individuals and as a community to hold ourselves accountable, to step back, to reason through the crisis that we are living in, and to do the right thing.

If we keep ourselves and our communities safe and stop fighting with each other then we will come out stronger on the other side. If we chose to be self-interested, care not for our neighbors and our communities, and focus on the divisive headlines, then I fear that we will not only lose lives, but we will lose our life as we know it.

When people in leadership choose to walk into hospitals and not wear a mask to protect themselves and others, when people in leadership tell us to disobey the recommendations of national and state agencies and institutions in the name of “liberty”, then the definition of “liberty” has been perverted. It is removing people’s ability to use their common sense guided by facts and instead coercing them into harm by telling them what they want to hear. It is not about freedom, it is about self-interest.

I am concerned, friends. We need to band together to speak true liberty, to speak facts, and to speak understanding. We can pull together to hold strong this democracy, and Together We Can Make A Difference.

-Holly Herson, candidate for State House District 48 holly.herson@hollyfor48.com