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Uncertainty. Anxiety. Stress. Frustration. Sadness. Loneliness. Isolation. Loss. Boredom. Depression. Fear. Anger. Many have experienced these sorts of feelings and emotions this year.

A lot has been served up to people in 2020. It has been a dreadful and unrelenting year so far, one which has taken a toll on everyone to some degree. It has hurt some people a lot and hurt a lot of people some. And we sense there's more to come -- probably much more.

As summer fades and the fall approaches, Americans rightfully wonder what the future will bring, what it holds for themselves and their families. And what it holds for their country. People are understandably worried. About everything. Especially the big things.

When will the pandemic end? How much longer will the virus continue to interfere with our daily lives and be a thorn in our sides? What happens this fall when covid-19 collides with the flu? Will our hospitals and frontline health care workers be overwhelmed? When will there be a safe and effective vaccine? What will happen when Arkansas public schools and universities start classes next week? Will students and their teachers be safe? Will the re-opening of schools lead to a rapid spread of the virus? What will working parents do if the public schools have to close again and return to only virtual learning?

What about the economy going forward? Will the business or company I work for make it? Is my job secure or will it be eliminated? Can I pay the bills? Can I pay my rent? Can I afford medical care?

What about the integrity of the election and what might follow? Are we heading for a constitutional crisis? Where will the country be a year from now and what will it look like?

No one knows with certainty the answer to any of these questions, making this entire ordeal even more perplexing. It's hard to make a plan. The constant uncertainty about the important stuff is disruptive and unsettling.

Though we can't be sure what's in store for us just ahead, we each have a responsibility to do our part to help rid us of this virus. That means continuing to wear a mask and following all the health and safety guidelines now in place. It means being there for others who need help or support. It means being there for friends. It means taking care of yourself and your family. It means staying positive, even when it's difficult to do so.

Beyond keeping body and soul together and striving to make the most we can out of our daily lives right now, there's the vital matter of the life of the nation. We are battling an elusive and highly infectious disease that threatens the health of many and the economic security of most while we seemingly battle among ourselves over just about everything, especially with a contentious and pivotal election looming on the near horizon.

It's the perfect storm. On top of a public health crisis, we are buffeted and further demoralized by our dysfunctional and often senseless politics. Coronavirus won't break America but it has shined a bright light on what was already broken in our country before its arrival.

We've lost plenty because of the virus but we haven't lost our right to vote. No person or disease can take that away from us. Don't let yourself be consumed by the partisan vitriol and utter nonsense all of us will have to endure between now and the election due to our broken politics and the decline of civility and honesty in our public discourse. Regardless of where we are as a country right now and despite the fact we are in the midst of a pandemic, no American citizen should let anything stop him or her from casting a ballot. Bear any burden to vote because it's your only real opportunity to have at least a small say-so in the future of the country.

Giving up and retreating from life isn't an option. Staying the course is the only path that will get us back to where we need to be and that's the path most people have chosen. No matter what they are feeling on the inside, they put on a good face and keep plugging away day after day because by and large Americans are optimistic and resilient people. To their credit, most people have already proven they can roll with the punches and are fully capable of meeting all the new and unexpected challenges that have confronted them in 2020.

Be safe. Be kind. Be generous. Be hopeful. Be a part of the solution. Better days will come for all of us and for our country.

Woody Bassett is a lifelong Fayetteville resident and a local attorney. Email him at [email protected]

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