Amitai Etzioni

When the pandemic imposed what in effect is a lock down, I told my wife, “The Nazi’s did not stop me; I survived three years of fighting during the 1948 war—I’d be damned if I let a virus stop me.” So, with the help of two wonderful young people, both sheltered in their respective homes, I continue to try to follow my calling as I see it. I published a book, Reclaiming Patriotism, that points out that we need more national solidarity to fight for the common good such as public health, because the world is sadly not ready to act as one community. (I made it open source so that people can download it without charge and I will not seem to profit from the call for patriotism). I tried to use communitarianism to show ways to fight the pandemic in a stream of op-eds such as Needed: A Time-bound Virtual CongressThe Sociology of Surviving the Coronavirus, China’s Changing Role in the Pandemic Driven World, A Dove Perspectiveand Are the Great Outdoors Safe in the Era of the Coronavirus?. Those who care to join this line of dialogues can find the texts on our web page.

Before Covid-19 hit, I curated and moderated three years of dialogues at a theatre, in which people from different camps participated, including Trump supporters and opponents. (One way I kept the discussion civil was to tell the panelists that they were sitting on a stage that had trap doors and that if the discussion would veer in wrong directions, I would open them). Now these dialogues are conducted on Zoom and anyone can join. The next one will be on May 25, from 4:00pm EST to 5:30pm EST on the topic: “Politics in the Covid-19 Age: How to Make Democracy Work During the Pandemic.”

I look over my wife’s shoulder when she participates in her computer art class. I have world wide zoom love fests with my extended family (13 grandkids and counting). I was furious that the gyms and pools in the neighborhood were closed and walk a mile a day, pausing at least four times. And I try to keep up with SASE, which I am delighted to see is adapting to the new challenge as it did to many previous ones.

Amitai Etzioni (SASE Founder and SASE President 1998-1990)