I so much wanted to focus this month’s column on the sweet ideas inside.

And I wholeheartedly encourage you to read Pam George’s piece on the creative ways area restaurants are offering to help celebrate Valentine’s Day. Ditto for her piece on the dizzying number of pivots restaurants are making to survive the flight to take-out.

Another worthwhile distraction is Matt Morrissette’s look at local record shops. How is that business model holding up through COVID-19?

For dessert, be sure to dig into Leeann Wallett’s profile of Lee Slaninko and his Sweet Somethings bakery. Appetizing reading, for sure.

Hopefully, this month’s content will distract you for a few hours. If so, Out & About has provided a valuable service. But I suspect more distressing thoughts are on your mind. I know they are on mine.

What took place during the Jan. 6 attack at the U.S. Capitol was so jarring it overshadowed a PANDEMIC. And I cannot believe I just typed the previous sentence.

In fact, there is much that has happened during the past four years that I cannot believe. Laws I never expected would be broken; norms I never imagined would be ignored.

Make America Great? Are you kidding me? Unless you’re an anarchist, how can you even feel “pretty good” right now?

Ah, but I must calm down. We all must calm down. Level-headedness is at a premium right now. It will not be easy to have a real conversation with people who operate in an alternative reality. But we have no choice.

Shocked but not surprised. It’s a reaction to the attack on the Capitol I’ve heard repeatedly. In other words, many felt something bad was coming. How could you not?

The seeds of the conspiracy strategy were planted way back with the accusation that Obama wasn’t a citizen. The call to arms came with cries of a “stolen election.”

It was a Machiavellian manipulation of people experiencing real fear. Fear of becoming more marginalized — by education, technology, demographics…

Just give them someone to blame — a conspiracy that provides an easy explanation for their anxiety. Trump despicably obliged. With countless accomplices.

Oh, what a wicked plot. Trump said and did all the things those clinging to white privilege could not do publicly. In exchange, he got what he most craves: plaudits and power.

But now he’s gone — from the Oval Office, at least. And we must go on. While millions are still angry…and afraid. Oh, and with a pandemic still raging. If this were a movie script, it would be rejected for being too unrealistic.

So, up steps Delaware’s Joe Biden. Into a set of circumstances that may be more challenging than those faced by any U.S. president. And at the ripe old age of 78, he appears ready for the challenge. I feel he just may be.

Why? Because more than anything right now, the country needs two things: empathy and compassionate action. Biden has a history of exhibiting both.

Do something to help people — all people. Show them government feels their pain. Provide them tangible relief. We can debate size of government, tax cuts, the Supreme Court… down the road. I hope.

During the presidential debates, Democratic candidate Andrew Yang coined a phrase that has remained with me: “If your house is on fire, you don’t worry about the cost of water.”

Well, our house is on fire. And beyond marginalizing the cost of water, everybody needs to see a firetruck pulling up to their house.

— Jerry duPhily

Jerry duPhily
Since 1988, Out & About has informed our audience of entertainment options in Greater Wilmington through a monthly variety magazine. Today, that connection has expanded to include social networking, a weekly newsletter, and a comprehensive website. We also create, manage, and sponsor local events.