This New Virtual Way of Living – It is a Culture Killer!

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Harry C. Alford and Kay DeBow

Beyond the Rhetoric

By Harry C. Alford & Kay DeBow

This new way of doing business and living every day has been caused by the pandemic – COVID 19. It is a “mass murderer” – destroying lives by the millions worldwide and causing our interaction with one another to be in continuous change minute by minute. Life is so different than it was six months ago. What big mandatory changes are in store for us during the next six months. It seems all we can do is pray. It is out of our control!

Here are just a few examples of what we are talking about:

National Sports: Who would have thought that such venues such as football, basketball, baseball, car racing, etc. would have bans on seating. It is hard to believe we are going into baseball season with football and basketball following and no fans will be allowed to participate by sitting and cheering their favorite teams.

This past weekend was the debut of this season’s NASCAR racing. Missing were the hundreds of thousands of fans in the seats and the tailgating that would go on for miles. The event was devoid of fan participation, crowd noise and boisterous cheering. The cars were racing at top speeds as usual but there was silence with only the announcers saying anything. You just could not get into the mood to watch and follow the progress of the event.

We cannot imagine trying to follow a football or basketball game with just commentary from the announcer and no emotion coming from the stands -what stands? The stadiums will be completely empty. Who would sit down and devote time and emotion to watch such a dull telecast? No one!

Let us think of the entertainment industry. That is going to dry up and fade away. We are supposed to be going to a family reunion this summer in Las Vegas. We guess that is going to be a flop. The casinos will be closed and the hotel space very limited. There will be no tables for us to sit down and gamble. So much for family reunions?

One of the painful changes to our lifestyle is the loss of visiting our grandson. He is two years old and lives in town. Every weekend we would meet at altering locations. Now all we can do is meet in a parking lot with our cars two yards apart. We get out and wave from a distance. No hugging, holding, and cuddling is allowed. We watch and shout at each other for about 20 minutes and that is it. Then we part for about two weeks at least. This is painful!

Cities that depend on conferences coming to town for additional revenue and interaction are going to have to do without the annual funding that is involved. Washington, DC is a conference center and the biggest conference is usually the Congressional Black Caucus. Well, it was just announced, this year they will have a “digital or virtual” conference. All those travels, hotel, entertainment, eating and dancing venues will no longer be experienced. A hallmark has just been retired.

Businesses have been forced to close. Many will never reopen. Washington, DC looks like it is a scene from the movie I am Legend with its streets devoid of cars and sidewalks with no pedestrians.

People have lost their jobs and many who still have jobs, work from home. We have read that pajama pants are selling out. No one needs to buy suits anymore. Children are being home schooled (which is not a bad thing) but parents are overwhelmed.

Another shocker comes from the California State College System. All 23 campuses will not open to the public. Classes will be held in virtual time slots via computers. There will be no college life in the most populous state in the country. Imagine going four years for your college education and never attending a class with your physical presence. The huge campuses will become ghost towns.

How can we go through airports when we cannot come within six feet of another person? How can we sit in a plane or go on a cruise? Going to grocery stores is like trying to complete an obstacle course. Gone is the formality of a handshake or a hug. This city has become a place full of strangers!

Every time we think of change or hope we understand that phase II of this pandemic is surely going to come in a few months causing havoc and more horror.

The big mystery is how long do we have to suffer? Will things get better or worse? Are we going through Armageddon and don’t even realize it? Dear Lord, we pray for answers and solutions to this awful mess we are now in. Our way of life has been turned upside down with no end in sight. All we can do is pray and pray hard!

Mr. Alford is the Co-Founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce ®. Ms. DeBow is the Co-Founder, Executive Vice President of the Chamber. Website: www.nationalbcc.org Emails: halford@nationalbcc.org kdebow@nationalbcc.org.

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