Friday, March 27, 2020

Full Stop

Growing up in Boulder, Colorado I was the recipient of a very open worldview. It was what a lot of folks got from living in a college town in the seventies. It was easy to be a left-wing nutjob because so many of those who surrounded me were left-wing nutjobs as well. Encountering racism or classicism was fearful for me as a burgeoning liberal. I was provided with a very solid sense that one helped his neighbor because it was the right thing to do. Not because there was a profit in it. Because it was the right thing to do.
So here I am some fifty years later, wondering how to cope with a government that seems intrinsically motivated by a bottom line. The Bottom Line, as in a financial ledger. A government that is happy to let deficits balloon while the stock market soars. Them that gots gots lots and them that don't don't. As we shrieked and cried at the mention of socialism, we rode that bull market right into the wall called pandemic.
Real life descended upon the party that was taking place at country clubs across the country. There was no insulation for this calamity. Except for money. It should be noted that we are updated regularly about the rich and famous who have been tested for COVID-19. Those most susceptible, the ones who cannot shelter in place because they have no shelter, are the ones who will most likely die without ever being diagnosed.
Meanwhile, senators who have the security of a job and a place to go when things go crazy, argue over the details of who gets what and how much of a bailout. With the emphasis always on keeping our economy afloat. This representative democracy runs on dollars, after all. According to some, we've all had plenty of time to suck up all the quarantine we need and it's time to get back to the work that makes the engine run.
Lieutenant Governor of Texas, Dan Patrick announced the other day, “No one reached out to me and said, ‘as a senior citizen, are you willing to take a chance on your survival in exchange for keeping the America that all America loves for your children and grandchildren?’ And if that’s the exchange, I’m all in. And that doesn't make me noble or brave or anything like that. I just think there are lots of grandparents out there in this country like me... that what we care about and what we love more than anything are those children." Noble? Brave? No. That makes you a sociopath. So invested in the notion of the United States as the land of those who can afford it that he is willing to let a generation die to jumpstart an economy that was tearing at the seams before anyone got sick. 
The left-wing nutjob that grew up to be an elementary school teacher marvels at those who are taking the time and energy to reach out to their neighbors young and old. I am gratified by the millions of dollars shoved down into the places where it is needed most from those who can afford to. The heroes are the ones who are listening to the doctors and scientists, waiting until it's safe to go out and be a good capitalist again. 

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