I try to stay away from anything political or negative, there is enough of that in the world. But the conversation in the United States yesterday upset me so much I couldn’t help posting an article on Facebook with a quote from Bill Gates saying we can’t ignore the stack of bodies in the corner to restart our economy.
With my post, I said this: I do not in any way diminish the cost of this pandemic to families, but I don't think we can put a dollar amount on lives. This isn't about old or young, every life is precious and this virus is killing people of all ages. The sooner we take it seriously, the sooner we can overcome and build a new normal. I am sickened by the politicians suggesting people willingly sacrifice their lives to save the economy and the stories of pharma companies poised to exploit loopholes to profit from death. Times like these reveal character. Theirs and ours, for better or for worse.
One person in particular posted multiple comments disagreeing with me, saying his father lived through the Great Depression and we definitely don’t want that. He sited riots in the streets in other countries over the hit their economy is taking with the virus and said this isn’t the time for hating Trump. To vote in November and respect the results. There was an air of condescension in his posts - the impression that I just didn’t understand what it was to do without, so my suggestion that people matter was done in ignorance.
I typed up a response. A long one. But the reality is, my sister spoke to each of his points better than I could have, so I decided to take my response and use it as a basis for a post here. I’m sure some of my readers will walk away from me after this, and while that makes me sad because I treasure each of you, what’s the point of having a voice if you don’t use it?
This is the time for people to speak up - loudly - for what is right. It is a time for us to band together to get through this. To set aside differences and remember that we are stronger together, and whatever storms come our way, we will weather them if we cling to hope and love.
I may not have lived through the Great Depression, but my children and I have known incredible hardship. We’ve lost every single thing we’ve owned. Been homeless. Been hungry. Lived in places so cold we would freeze to death if I fell asleep and didn’t stoke the fire on time. We are in a very brief period of comfort in our lives. The only one that’s been truly peaceful because there is no abuse to navigate. I do not take the crash of our economy lightly.
And yes, I hate Trump, but his words weren’t the one that sparked my post. It was the Lt Gov of Texas, actually. And yes, now is absolutely the time to call out the complete leadership vacuum at the federal level. We need to remember this moment when we vote in November - those who are left alive to vote, that is.
We do not get an easy choice here. If we are flip with human lives to save our economy, enough people will die that it will most assuredly still impact our economy.
In my county, the largest number of cases are 20 - 30 year olds. This disease will not just wipe out seniors. It will take our workforce, too. Think of the expense of a million or more insurance policies being paid out. Family breadwinners gone. Our workforce depleted.
I am a single mother. If I don’t put a roof over my children’s head, they don’t have one. If I don’t feed them, they don’t eat. If restrictions are lifted, my employer will absolutely want me back in the office even though my job can easily be done from home.
I am immune compromised. I will catch it if that’s not what I’m already dealing with at the moment. I catch everything these days. My fear is not for myself but for my 20-year-old asthmatic son. Is my 16-year-old with the blood disorder also high risk? Probably.
I am all for people returning to work as soon as is safely possible, but nothing I’ve heard from our federal government gives me any reassurance our safety is at all on his mind.
We need testing. We need to understand how widespread this is and who has immunity before we can have the conversation about returning to work. We need to be gearing up for what is about to hit our hospitals.
We had the gift of knowing what was coming and we squandered it. It’s time for our leadership to step up and be leaders. Since I am lucky enough to be working from home, as long as I have income, I will do my part to help those around me who need it. We will have to band together to survive this. But we can survive it if we don’t start acting like inhumane fools at the very start of this crisis. We are better than this, or we can be if we choose to be.
COVID-19 will cost this world much and in many ways. We can’t let it take our humanity, too.