Life (& Living) or Death
Gabriel Martin, Opinion May 7, 2020
Politics and screaming lunatics aside, you have your re-open crowd and you have your stay-at-home crowd. Generally speaking, of course, most people have a fairly strong opinion either way.
The stay-at-home people believe in taking the pandemic very seriously, and it usually helps if they have a living situation which isn’t too much at odds with lock-down orders to begin with (i.e. they already worked from home/their job now allows them to work from home, they have food and comfortable living conditions, etc).
Those who want to re-open the economy and lift the orders seem to see the negative effects of the lock-down as far outweighing any possible threat from the virus. In my friends list, it usually means people in rural areas, not yet heavily affected by illness. The general consensus is that problems like loss of wages, lack of food access, missed rent, businesses going bankrupt, shops permanently closing, poverty and pending homelessness, are all more dangerous than the illness. (Also, in a more vague sense, some talk of possible depression and/or suicide rates going up.)
It is a pretty callous stance for stay-at-homers to just casually dismiss every single one of these realistic and practical concerns. As if anyone who wants to re-open is an ignorant, financially driven, asshole.
It is equally insensitive for re-openers to pompously flaunt their misplaced bravado in the face of a very serious threat, and belittle and ridicule those who feel they are doing the right thing to keep those they love safe and alive, by following the necessary orders.
Here’s the thing though: you shouldn’t have to pick a side and fight and yell at the other side, telling them how ignorant and delusional they are. The government should have the ability to solve both of those problems simultaneously.
The entire reason for a government’s existence in any society is to solve problems and protect their citizens in an emergency situation. Sometimes this means military defense, sometimes it means gathering and stockpiling vital resources, natural disaster relief, etc. In this case, it means protection from the illness and the security of life’s necessities, while the battle is ongoing. This is the system’s primary job at the moment, the very definition of its function, and it is failing miserably.
If a government only works well when everything is running smoothly, but falls apart during an emergency situation, then you have to wonder ‘what are you actually here for, exactly?’
So now, as citizens of the same inept government, we have to fight and argue with one another over what to do, because the government has put us in a position where too many people have to make a choice between living in crushing poverty or dying from an illness.
The answer to the problem can be seen in other countries that are not failing their people: You stay at home and guess what? None of those other bad things happen to you. Rent and mortgages are frozen, you continue to receive wages, you will not be fired, your business will still be there when it’s all over, free food is delivered to your door, if you get sick you will receive your care at no cost to you, government services are in place to assist you and your neighbors, so that a very effective lock-down can happen and the infection rate drops very quickly. You still have your home, job, food, car, etc. and the efficiency of the quarantine means you spent a few weeks inside instead of depressing and endless months. Now, orders can be relaxed because the remaining infected have been identified and quarantined and strict testing infrastructure is in place to help keep it from a resurgence.
These things aren’t happening in the U.S. because every system that could help make it happen has been stripped, dismantled, and defunded so that those tax payer dollars could be funneled right into various private bank accounts. There simply is no money to do what needs to be done.
For decades and decades the amount of your tax money available to this country for emergencies and necessary life-saving programs has dwindled, and dwindled, and dwindled…. while the bulk of that lost money has been shifted straight up to the highest of the elite, where they sit on it and put it in tax free accounts in other countries, hoarding it and never putting it back into the country. It’s a slow and steady siphoning effect that has sucked the country dry and is now literally killing people.
Look at the wage gap. Look at the trillions in debt the country is now in. Look at the poverty level and the unemployment. Even in the best of times over the last few decades, most jobs couldn’t even pay a living wage. The general populous makes less and less, while the stock market goes up and any programs or systems put in place to help the average person are killed and that money goes straight to corporate contracts and subsidies.
So, now what happens when there is a crisis? SORRY. We don’t have the money. It’s not there when we need it. Why? Not sure exactly, maybe ask Boeing… or Amazon… or your bank. Well, we can go further in debt and borrow a metric shit ton of money for a stimulus bill to keep the economy happy but, GUESS WHAT?!? Most of that is going to those same corporations and you get a few scraps, but not much else. We have to keep big business happy over any other concern. That’s what’s best for everyone, right?
SORRY, there are no systems in place to help, we killed those. Unnecessary. There is no money, a handful of people have most of that now and they don’t seem too eager to give any of it back.
Because the government couldn’t perform even its most basic function, (preparing for an emergency and protecting its citizens when there was one) now we have to fight among one another over who is right: those who love poverty or those who love illness.
We’re so busy fighting each other, we don’t bother turning back around to the government and saying “Hold on now… What the actual fuck?!?”
Did you like this? Wanna check out my blog?
www.the ignorantbystander.com or
FB page www.facebook.com/theignorantbystander