A phrase that we’ve commonly heard throughout this pandemic was “We’re in this together.” But as the months passed and the situation wasn’t getting any better, the assertion that was supposed to instill concern, cooperation and hope turned in to a mockery that fueled indifference, dissolution, fear and anger. Let’s change this battle cry because all it’s doing is making us cry in this battle.

Since March of this year, we’ve methodically separated our one community into different subgroups. We have government leaders, business leaders, civic leaders, religious leaders, essential and nonessential government employees, front-liners, medical personnel, essential and nonessential businesses, essential and nonessential business employees, people who are employed and people who are not, military personnel, civilian population, and the haves and have-nots. It’s become so fragmented and confusing that we’re blaming each other for what has failed and what’s falling apart. And through all this, we’ve lost sight of who “we” are.

“Let’s do this together!”

We need to reduce our positivity rate and start up our economy, and the only way this is going to happen is if we do this together. Let’s reset and do it right moving forward.

Doing it right should start with assessing everything that we’ve done so far. We need to identify and acknowledge our missteps and our successes, find those instances when we could have been better with our messaging, analyze and understand the causation for the community’s apathetic response to the government’s guidance and orders, and revisit what we could have and should have done.

If something extreme needs to be done, then we do this together. If businesses are ordered to be closed and not operate to make money, then government should not expect to receive revenue and operate as if everything was normal. If the government imposes a mandate for the community to follow, then they too should follow those same mandates.

I’m not going to claim that I’m without fault in being frustrated and critical with how we’ve responded to this pandemic. I too am concerned of the rise in positive infections and deaths. I too have friends and family members who have succumbed to this virus. I too struggle financially to keep my business afloat and provide for the needs of my family. I too continue to pray that this ends soon so that we can go back to enjoying each other’s company and rebuild our island community.

In fairness and reality, we cannot lay all blame on one side of the coin. As community members, we need to be more aware and sensible for ourselves, family, friends, co-workers and others around us. We can overcome this pandemic by being mindful, cooperative, understanding and patient.

Let’s move from asserting authority and casting blame to working together and taking responsibility. Let’s transcend from frustration and apprehension to sensibility and optimism. We may not be in this the same, but the only way we can beat it is to do this together.

Sen.-elect Frank Blas Jr. has been elected to serve as a member of the 36th Guam Legislature. 

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