To All Our Members and Supporters:
We hope that this message finds you well and that you and your families are safe. As we all know, COVID-19 has caused a massive disruption in our professional and personal lives. It is important that during these uncertain times that we all do our best to come together so that we may defeat this unseen enemy.
The Union County Young Democrats are dedicated to helping all individuals within Union County to stay informed and to stay healthy during this pandemic. We encourage everyone to be aware of their own mental and emotional health as our individual worlds have been challenged. We encourage everyone to avoid activities and behaviors that could prove detrimental to you and your loved ones. Below is a list of recommendations to stay healthy and productive while indoors.
Here are some helpful tips for staying indoors:
- For those of us with our own families, spend more time with them in fun and creative ways. Plan an indoor date night, play with your children, make new family events.
- Call family members and friends that you have not spoken to in a long time. Let them know how much you love and value them.
- Check on the elderly in your neighborhood as they are highly vulnerable in this time.
- Reach out to those in the medical profession, our front-line defenders!
- Read books and explore new subjects.
- Focus on art. Start writing songs, poems, plays, or books that have you have been wanting to get around to.
- Explore a brand-new hobby. Let your creativity flow.
- Create a plan to structure your finances for success.
- Evaluate your personal life and see what changes you must make.
- Take a break from social media!
- Practice an instrument that has not been using a long time.
- Reflect on how important it is to be grateful for those in your life.
Stay informed with reputable news sources and information from leading government and medical officials. Governor Murphy and our state leaders have gone through great lengths to keep the public up to date with accurate information.
Explore the website https://covid19.nj.gov/ as this site is the main hub for all COVID-19 information or to stay up to date on the latest information text NJCOVID to 898-211. Stay in touch with us via our social media accounts as we will continue to supply important information and updates.
Please stay safe everyone and stay home.
As we often say, the future depends on YOU!
UNION COUNTY YOUNG DEMOCRATS’ EXECUTIVE BOARD
To Save Our Politics, We Must Understand What It Means To Be Human
Sean Keagan Foley, MSW, LSW UCYD Treasurer
As the world feels smaller and our political systems become more complex, it is essential that society learns what it means “to be human.” Today, in the era of breaking news, tweets, partisanship, and tribalism, the limitations of humanity’s ability to navigate our politics has become evident. Society often tells us that we must trust our instincts, but research shows that when it comes to politics our primitive instincts malfunction and cause us to feel confused. Contrary to what people believe, we often do not act rationally towards politics because the instincts from our hunter-gatherer days get in the way. These instincts were developed for our survival and are passed down from one generation to the next to keep humanity from going extinct. (Ironically, in the face of global warming, those same instincts that kept us alive may be the cause of our very own demise.)
Hunter-gatherer societies spanned the majority of humanity’s existence, dating back to the first modern humans 200,000 years ago, up to the Agricultural Revolution which happened 10,000 years ago. The Agricultural Revolution was the largest and most impactful revolution in human history, and no other moment in history has transformed the world as much as this event. The Agricultural Revolution paved the way for the development of job specialization, complex political structures, possessions, architecture, farming, wars, art, industry, and commerce.
However, even in the midst of such massive change primitive instincts are still embedded in our brains and they have stayed the same, even though the world has not. When confronted with today’s politics, these primitive instincts conflict with the modern and more rational parts of our psyche, resulting in misperception and irrationality, even in the face of facts and reality. It leaves us floating in a modern political world with a brain wired from our primitive days, making us behave in ways that go against our own interests and good governance. To fix this and to save our politics, I believe we all must learn what it means to be human.
What does it mean to be human? A simple phrase, but one with much complexity. Being human means having to navigate intricate evolutionary, neurological, and cognitive structures. It is understanding that everyone experiences moments of bliss, happiness, loss, and suffering; the human experience. It teaches our society that there is more we don’t know than we do know and it is recognizing that our current position in the world is because of humanity’s ability to collaborate and share resources. However, it also reminds us that being human also means being vulnerable to fear. That fear creates heightened self-focus, a desire for sameness, generates apathy, and produces hate.
Fear in the face of challenges leads to avoidance, reduces cooperation, and can be manipulated as a weapon of distraction and diversion. Understanding what it means to be human pushes back against fear because knowing humanity’s strengths and limitations can successfully create policies and advance norms that reinforce a nation’s character and enhance equality and justice; necessary principles of democracy. It accomplishes this by understanding that people are persuaded by emotional rhetoric, often dismissing statistics and reason (thus, the need to create strong emotional connections to the facts and reality.) and we learn that the most primitive, and basic way that people understand the world is through stories.
Stories help us recall the past, understand the present, and imagine the future; they tell us who “we” are. It is stories about what makes us similar that have the most profound impact on our psyche, for this notion is embedded into our collective spirits, for our primitive and modern brains both desire community and cooperation.
The continuous framing of such a narrative permits opinions to be communicated openly, let’s pluralism thrive, and allows different ideas to flourish; the necessary vaccines against extremist ideologies. It is not our lack of understanding in politics that causes us to make mistakes, but a lack of knowledge about ourselves that cloud our perceptions. A society that understands what it means to be human can ensure that the better angels of our nature and our politics take fruition. We must learn that it’s not about finding out how to be the “best human”, but how to be the “most human.”
UCYD Book Recommendation
Samantha Power “The Education of an Idealist.”
In this powerful memoir “The Education of An Idealist,” Samantha Power provides riveting insight into her time working with the Obama administration.
In this memoir, the former US Ambassador to the UN provides an honest and reflective analysis of her time in the highest echelons in government. A great book that offers essential lessons to anyone aspiring to follow in her footsteps in shaping the world for the better.