The pandemic has sadly emphasized many areas where Americans disagree with one another: masks, vaccines, science, reliable news sources, etc.
But in one way, whether they agreed on political parties or anything else, Americans quietly took similar actions.
We put our money where our mouth is.
As businesses went to limited service, or saw fewer customers, or curtailed hours, or did any of the number of things businesses either had to do last year or were ordered to do, we invested in the businesses we love to the best of our abilities.
For example, when the movie theatre had to stop showing movies for several months last year, it occasionally hosted drive-through popcorn and refreshment sales.
Did my wife and I need buttered movie popcorn and giant ICEEs, etc.? Yes.
Did we need the two or three large buckets of popcorn every time the movie theatre held a drive-through sale? No, but we bought extra anyway.
Because we wanted the movie theatre to still be there after it was all said and done.
Did I need to buy more cigars than I normally would from Stogies? No, even though I was often puffing one while editing the newspaper from my back porch last summer.
But I did it because I wanted the cigar shop to still be there on the other side of this thing.
Did we have to pay for personal services that were curtailed due to state restrictions? No. But did we do it anyway? Yes, because we wanted to help people we know and ensure the service would return when it could return.
Many people did similar things. We ordered more food for delivery and take out from restaurants than usual. Not just because we wanted to help places we love and people we like, or places we like and people we love. We did it for ourselves – an investment that something we enjoy would still be there.
People didn't necessarily spend enough individually to save any business. But those who could did what they could and bought what they normally would and often bought just a little bit more.
If everyone who loved a place did the same, we reasoned, maybe it would survive.
Sadly, it didn't work for every business. Our individual efforts were not enough to keep the business afloat. Not enough to help it survive.
But we tried, didn't we? To save as many of the places we loved as possible.
So, whenever you feel down that no one sees eye to eye, or exhausted that there will never be a consensus on anything ever again, take a moment and appreciate the places you love.
More than likely if the places you love are still here, it's not only because you made that pandemic investment into it but so did people who may not agree with you on anything else in this world.
But did agree – this place is worth saving.
Dean Poling is an editor with The Valdosta Daily Times and editor of The Tifton Gazette.