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Remembering our common humanity | News, Sports, Jobs

Remembering our common humanity |  News, Sports, Jobs


It was interesting to observe all the “hoop-la” surrounding the recent solar eclipse. There were stories of thousands traveling to see the total eclipse, stories of sunglasses being handed out, and, finally, stories of how the heavens opened just as the eclipse was happening in western New York.

In all of this, there was no Democrat vs. Republican debate, no condemnation of immigrants, no “one-upmanship” over who has the superior view of the political landscape. It was a politically free day just to be yourself and indulge in the euphoria of an eclipse-only mother nature event.

When you think about it, every day really is a reminder of how “we're all in this together.” The sun rises and sets on all of us – on the Chinese, on the Russians, on the people in Gaza as well as in Israel, on the people sheltered in the safety of their homes as well as on the people without homes.

Our problems arise when we think about our differences, not our commonalities.

Human nature being what it is, the day after the eclipse… the news was again full of everything we disagree on – the wars in Ukraine and Gaza, the latest in the Trump impeachment, the gridlock in Congress, the age of Joe Biden, etc. , etc.

Everything seems so small when stacked up against the eclipse.

On the morning of the eclipse, I was actually enjoying the sunrise on Florida's east coast. Speaking of “common”, where else in the world can you find hundreds of kilometers of beautiful continuous sandy beaches? Florida is just that.

Okay, Florida is not my favorite place in the world. But after a western New York winter, it's great to make a “leap” into spring by heading to this incredible place of sun and beaches.

But in Florida, as with the eclipse, you also face the power and reality of mother nature. The ocean continues to crash against the beaches and, despite all of man's efforts to keep it at bay – the ocean continues to win. On another morning, on the other side of Florida, I drove down the road to Fort Myers Beach. There are still many vacant lots, closed buildings and signs of the battering the beach received during the hurricane a few years ago.

It was sad to see, but a good reminder of who's in charge…and it's not the Army Corps of Engineers or the building developers. Just ask Florida residents trying to get flood insurance.

Another reminder of our common problems living here on earth was the recent earthquake in Taiwan. Earthquakes, like volcanic eruptions, have always been with us. Although we can't stop them, we try to treat them when they come. One of the smartest engineering ideas I've ever heard came from Taiwan. A 660-ton pendulum suspended over 1,000 feet above the ground was built inside a skyscraper there. When this last earthquake came, it stabilized the building and kept it from collapsing.

Human beings can address problems related to mother nature. However, in doing so, we must realize that, after all, we live here on a planet that we can only tweak – not control. This humble realization helps define our common humanity.

Rolland Kidder is a resident of Stow.

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