In the aftermath of the storming of the Capitol, the buzzword “resilience” was echoed in the Senate Chamber between both parties.
Republican Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell (R-KY) stated: “This institution is resilient. Our democratic republic is strong.”
Democratic Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer (D-NY) remarked: “The divisions in our country clearly run deep, but we are a resilient, forward-looking and optimistic people, and we will begin the hard work of repairing this nation tonight because here in America we do hard things. In America, we always overcome our challenges.”
In the wake of COVID-19, “resilience” has become the buzzword throughout our nation, so much so, that it is worth further examination. It is not enough to assume that we are “a resilient nation.”
Resilience is measured by the ability to bounce back from adversity. The more prepared we are to face our challenges the more resilient we become. For example, the world was not prepared for COVID-19. We did not have the infrastructure to face the pandemic. That is because much of governance is based on crisis management. We are reactively wired wherein fear becomes the great motivator.
Resilience is based on preparedness. Many of our leaders have invoked the words of Dr. Benjamin Franklin when he was asked whether we have a monarchy or a republic. His words, “A republic if we can keep it. Our responsibility is to keep it”, speak to resilience.
Our Founding Fathers put in place many of the necessary variables that have contributed to our resilience throughout history. Resilience is tied to freedom of ideas, connectedness to each other and our institutions. The Preamble of the Constitution laid the framework for the concept of resilience when it spoke of establishing justice, ensuring domestic tranquility and promoting the general welfare.
However, the responsibility of keeping our republic did not stop with our Founding Fathers. They called upon us to be prepared for threats to our democracy. This can only be achieved by ensuring that we are prepared. That does not mean that we should be motivated by fear, but rather the connectedness that we all share as free people. We cannot simply assume that this comes naturally. To the contrary, history and science has taught us that it takes an effort to refrain from our fear-based selves. Therefore, we need to be hyper-vigilant to the lessons learned throughout our history, to make ourselves more resilient. What we have learned will determine our nation’s future and its resilience.
Dr. Robert Goldman is the Chief Psychologist and Co-CEO of TLC Virtual Resiliency. He is a licensed psychologist and attorney with over 18 years of experience in combining law and psychology. Dr Goldman is a member of the American Psychological Association and an adjunct professor at Hofstra University and St. Joseph’s College teaching Restorative Justice and various Community Correction topics. Learn more at tlcvirtualresiliency.com