Hey, how was your week? Anything interesting happen?

2020 continues to bestow upon us great gifts of chaos, anxiety, fear, and frustration. This week was a rollercoaster on top of a rollercoaster, with the US election (still undecided as I write this) mashed up with the global resurgence of the COVID-19 pandemic. I don’t know about you, but I’m exhausted.

That exhaustion, at least for many of us (myself included), led to a naive hope, more emotional than rational, that the election would offer some sort of quick resolution and catharsis, and we’d see a widespread repudiation of all that we’ve seen going wrong in recent years. Reality, unfortunately intervened. Though we have no doubt taken a step forward, we also now know for certain that the last four years were not an aberration — this is who we are.

So let’s all take a deep breath, and get back to work. There’s no quick fix for making a better world. We’re in the early stages of the marathon, but at least we now have a clearer picture of the path we’re on. This is how we make change, not through one vote in one election, but through years and decades of dedicated work.

Because it made me feel a little better, I’ll offer you the segment below from Stephen Colbert and Jon Stewart, recorded a few days before the election as they celebrated the 10th anniversary of their Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear (in which they admit that Fear turned out to be the big winner). At around the 6:45 mark, Stewart looks for inspiration to keep moving forward through tough times, and Colbert pulls out a gem from The Lord of the Rings:

There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.

David Crotty

David Crotty

David Crotty is the Editorial Director, Journals Policy for Oxford University Press. He serves on the Board of Directors for the STM Association, the Society for Scholarly Publishing and CHOR, Inc. David received his PhD in Genetics from Columbia University and did developmental neuroscience research at Caltech before moving from the bench to publishing.

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