To the Editor:

Those who know me best understand that I always take an optimistic view of life’s unexpected turns. When I was four and decided to surprise my parents with a new DIY haircut, I looked in the mirror and told myself the resulting bald spots made me look more mature. When I was in middle school and came to realize that my dream of being the next Shaquille O’Neal probably wasn’t the most realistic given my mere 5′ 2″ stature at the time, I told myself I could be the next Lebron James (somehow thinking 6′ 9″ was infinitely more achievable than 7′ 1″).

But lately, it’s taken a conscious effort to remain positive and not enter a negative spiral as we continue to witness the devastating impacts of this pandemic at home and abroad. From the countless lives lost to the many struggling without work, times are trying to say the least. The situation has brought further into stark relief unresolved social issues from racial injustice to socioeconomic disparities in health care. All-in-all, staying calm and level-headed has never been more difficult. We are all unsure of what lies ahead in the future, no less tomorrow.

It is in these moments when we must turn to the glimmers of hope across our community. While acts of kindness and care do not erase the pain so many feel, nor bring back those we’ve lost, they remind us that even in dark times there are many among us who inspire and lead us positively forward. Too often we read the papers or watch the nightly news and gravitate toward the negative headlines. Admittedly, I’m guilty of allowing those headlines to catch my eye and of bringing up the latest COVID-19 numbers or unemployment figures in conversation, but then I catch myself. I’m quickly reminded of the heroic first responders who risk their lives to help the sick, the countless students who volunteer to deliver food to the needy, and the families who pull together whatever resources they can spare to contribute to others. These people refuse to be defined by political affiliation or any other dividing label or ideology. Instead of finding reasons to disagree, they find reason to unify. This isn’t just a story of Wilton, but of our country and world. People are stepping up to meet today’s challenges and tomorrow’s opportunities.

There will be a time when we return to a normal, albeit a “normal” we may not recognize. Until then, we must be grateful for what we have and continue to provide hope to the discouraged, aid to the needy, friendship to the lonely and, perhaps most importantly, love and compassion to all. Now more than ever, we must remind ourselves that while we may disagree passionately on politics, sports, and yes, whether or not “Tiger King” is really all that, the situation we find ourselves in transcends those feelings. There is so much more we have in common than not. That which we share as human beings can and should pull us together, not apart. Saving lives has no party affiliation, making others feel better about themselves has no other agenda behind it. Supporting our children’s future is neither a Democratic nor Republican principle. This is a time to be concerned about others, as well as ourselves, and to be optimistic about the good that can come out of the current crisis if we unify.

Throughout this period, I’ve found time each night to read before bed. Last week it was Orwell and this week Shakespeare. Interestingly enough, Shakespeare lived through a pandemic of his own with the bubonic plague. Perhaps we should draw inspiration from his famous line in All’s Well That Ends Well, “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.”

We will overcome this together, as one global community stronger for having come through the pandemic. Maybe this is the relentless optimist in me, but my hope is that we also overcome this with a renewed sense of togetherness and an understanding that Lincoln so famously addressed in his first inaugural address. “Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.”

Wishing you continued health and happiness.

Stephen M. Blinder