What is it to be essential, what makes a thing essential?
In philosophy, essence is the property or set of properties that make an entity or substance what it fundamentally is, and which it has by necessity, and without which it loses its identity.
In a journey from base-to-base and bay-to-shore, essential Coronado can be found with every step we take.
“An Islander H2O Polo Player Lives Here” and “Home of A Naval Aviator” … from the Coronado Ferry Landing to the Hotel del Coronado … the sign posts that mark essential Coronado are all around us.
Now, the word ‘essential’ has taken on new meaning as various government entities have made decisions on what aspects of our lives are essential, and which are not.
It is a difficult time.
While clearer minds can recognize health needs balanced against social and economic needs, we endure endless arguments regarding facts and their accuracy, distortions created by social media, and even the overload brought about by being delivered too much information without the time to digest it properly.
We have been told to stay at home, to avoid non-essential contact, non-essential conduct, non-essential commerce, non-essential community.
We recognize the tremendous need to protect our most vulnerable, we have been good citizens, Coronado has done its part.
But there are many other, more valuable, uses of the word ESSENTIAL in America.
It is ESSENTIAL that we are free.
It is ESSENTIAL that we have a Bill of Rights that is applied to all, equally.
It is ESSENTIAL that we have a Constitution that shines bright for all to see.
It is ESSENTIAL that we get to vote for our laws and leaders and that their actions reflect the will of “We The People”
Here in Coronado we have watched as our small businesses were declared non-essential and closed, while larger businesses offering the same goods and services were labelled essential, and allowed to carry on with their business.
Some of our local small businesses will never re-open, they have been sacrificed in the cause of “Stopping The Spread.”
In Coronado we have patiently endured decisions that are patently “one size fits all,” as areas of low impact have been quarantined with the same heavy hand as higher impacted population centers.
We are fortunate to live in a country where so many care deeply for those in need, but we can protect life AND the human dignity of self-direction.
Good (local) dialogue and partnership can achieve a safe balance between all things public, private and business. We have seen that effort out of our City, we have not seen that out of our State, or Federal government. What we have seen out of them is the heavy hand of distant dictates waving about with reckless abandon.
One of my personal favorites, William James, wrote:
“Old-fashioned determinism was what we may call hard determinism. It did not shrink from such words as fatality, bondage of the will, necessitation, and the like. Nowadays, we have a soft determinism which abhors harsh words, and, repudiating fatality, necessity, and even predetermination, says that its real name is freedom; for freedom is only necessity understood, and bondage to the highest is identical with true freedom.”
~ “The Dilemma of Determinism”
In this essay, James was making an argument on free will, and there is a valuable warning encapsulated in the quote above. There is an ease with which free will, and thus Freedom, can be lost.
It is time to remember that we are all ESSENTIAL; and what makes us so is defined BY us, not FOR us.
That is our freedom, and it, too, is essential.