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Perspectives are commentaries produced by and for WNIJ listeners, from a panel of regular contributors and guests. You're invited to comment on or respond to any Perspective on our Facebook page or through Twitter (@wnijnews), in keeping with our Discussion Policy. If you would like to submit your own Perspective for consideration, send us a script that will run about 90 seconds when read -- that's about 250 words -- and email it to NPR@niu.edu, with "Perspectives" in the subject line.

Perspective: Together Again

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Ian Schneider

All around the nation, families and friends gathered to celebrate the 4th. Communities hosted firework displays with all that community celebrations offer. It’s exciting. My family gathered for a barbeque where we were all physically present with each other.

Still, I know many people are crawling out from under the Covid cloud slowly, liken to emerging from some underground bunker into the light of day. Even people who have been fully vaccinated are still masking when they leave the safety of their homes.

Hesitant – so many people are hesitant, weary of the larger world and those who swirl around them. The discourse around Covid has been loud and argumentative: Is it real? Will the vaccine make me sterile (even I don’t understand that one)? Will the variants be fatal? Will we be locked down again? Data and science will not relieve these fears, because they are triggered by emotions.

Consider it that in a plural society, we are both independent of and dependent on each other. What my neighbor does or does not do impacts me. When we were separated by Covid, many longed to be physically connected. The absence of each other taught us the value of each other.

As I watched the fireworks on the 4th, I wondered. The joy and struggle of community... difficult. The magic of privacy and public life. I celebrate the both/and of this great nation, and I wonder, what did you celebrate?

Hope you had a Happy 4th everyone!

I'm Lou Ness, and that's my perspective.