As I read the reactions to the Kyle Rittenhouse verdict, it became clear that our country and our state are more politically polarized than ever. Depending on whether people align with the political left or right, the verdict was either a travesty and unconscionable injustice, or it was a validation of the importance of the Second Amendment and people’s right to keep and bear arms in order to protect themselves.
Unfortunately, as people took to social media platforms to express their views about the verdict, there was a noticeable lack of mention of the overall fairness of our judicial system, the facts of the case, and our process where a jury of one’s peers hears evidence and delivers judgement.
The divide between opposing viewpoints on this and other issues has become a chasm so deep and so wide, I wonder if we have moved past the point of no return with regard to people’s ability to disagree, agreeably. I pray that is not the case.
As we move into the holiday season, my greatest hope it is that people set their differences aside and embrace the joy of the season, and the hope that accompanies the approaching New Year. There is so much to be thankful for and joyous about this holiday season.
It was just a year ago that many loved ones were alone over the holidays because of COVID-19. Similarly, last year our loved ones in nursing homes were unable to have face-to-face visits. We didn’t have a COVID-19 vaccine yet, and vulnerable segments of the population had to weigh the risk vs benefit of gathering with family and other loved ones and risk contracting the virus, or playing it safe and remaining in isolation.
But this year is different. COVID-19 still poses a threat, but nearly every Illinoisan has had access to the COVID-19 vaccination. In Illinois, especially in the suburbs, the overwhelming majority of adults are vaccinated. An extremely high percentage of our senior citizen population is also vaccinated. As a result, nursing homes have revised visitation policies to allow for face-to-face visits. I am personally looking forward to a holiday season that feels more normal this year.
The political issues that polarize our country and state remain, but I’m hoping they can be set on the back burner for the next several weeks, so that families and friends can gather and celebrate the many, many things for which we can all be thankful.
From my family to yours, have a very happy and safe holiday season.