Still, despite the understandable desire by many to express wariness about the COVID 19 crisis, to focus on fun things and create distractions, it is absolutely imperative that people pay attention to all the variables taking place right now. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have fun. Have fun. Be creative. Have a ball. Laugh out loud. No one is doing more of that than I am, but that can never be all that we can do. You have to always keep at least one eye open.
If we don’t pay attention, we can be presented with so much confusion that we miss critical things happening that are definitely not in our collective and individual interests. Those unfortunate things are happening, and a lot of people are not paying attention.
For starters, there are literally millions of low wage workers who are not working right now. They are not being paid. All the restaurants, bars, coffee shops, etc., employ the largest percentage of growing industries within the U.S. i.e. service jobs. None of those people are getting paid right now and their rents are due. Groceries have run out and desperation is surely present. Millions of people within the richest country in human history. Meanwhile, while other capitalist countries like Denmark are paying their stalled workforces up to 90% of their regular wages, this U.S. government has drafted this ridiculous “stimulus package.” A two trillion dollar deal that is mostly designed to save corporate welfare thieves instead of taking care of the everyday working people who make all societies go.
There are approximately 350 million people living within the U.S. Even if every one of them got an insulting one time $1,200.00 check (millions will not get that amount or anything), that’s still only $420,000.000, only one fourth of the package. Some dollars go to small businesses, but the majority of the remaining approximately 77% of that package goes to multi-national corporations. Not working people. Not working people. I don’t know about you, but to me, that should be unacceptable to everyone reading this. Yet, there’s no real outrage about this. No calls for immediate change. Nothing by most people except calls to play games and post pictures dealing with anything besides this crisis.
Again, have as much fun as you can, but you have to keep paying attention. Shelter in place is clearly the thing to do to curb the spread of this virus. There’s no question about that. Still, people have to continue to be vigilant to ensure these measures don’t evolve into state practices that target already oppressed communities, restricting their movements and existences. We already see some examples where that is happening. One example is the houseless communities. They are being systemically targeted, even more than ever, to restrict their presence. Its impossible for houseless people to socially distance provided people don’t have a place to live. If people don’t want to see houseless people it would make sense to house them in empty hotels. The government could do this. They could nationalize hotels in every city and give them to houseless people. This should be happening as regular policy in any society that cares more about people than money, but we don’t live in that type of society. So, at least give those folks some humanity and safety while this crisis is happening. Doing so makes those communities safer as well as all of us. Clearly, the more of us who are inside, the safer all of us are going to be.
Nothing like the suggestions about housing houseless people are ever going to happen as long as the rest of us are not paying attention. Not demanding action. As long as we are only wanting to watch Netflix and HULU while nursing our own individual sorrows while shutting out the rest of the world.
For years, I’ve endured unjustified criticism that I’m anti-religion. I’ve heard it a million times. I’ve never been anti-religion. How could I be? I’m an African. I understand that no major religion – Islam, Christianity, or Judaism, would exist today without strong origins and/or contributions by Africa. Europe cannot make that claim. So, I could never be anti-religion because religions like Christianity are manifestations of my African culture. What I am anti is anyone who uses the word of righteousness and justice for cover to make money and build mega-churches. I’m against the multitudes of these mega-churches who instead of opening up their luxurious sanctuaries for the houseless and others in need, are instead using the prominence of their word to frighten their congregation into believing that social distancing isn’t needed. Only prayer. While more and more of them are coming out in open confrontation against shelter in place policies at the peril of their misinformed members who actually believe they will go to hell if they don’t continue to give all their dwindling income to their churches and even show up to these mass church services that many of these backward preachers are calling for. Again, none of this could ever work without our quiet and disassociated compliance. Saying nothing about it to our family members, friends, co-workers, neighbors. Instead, hunkering down. Being individualistic. Only working to ensure our individual safety because we have the privilege to do so.
And, now this backward administration is trying to tell you that Iran is threatening U.S. troops stationed abroad. The first and obvious question is why those troops are there? What are they doing? Very few in this country are asking those questions to our peril. Then, besides that, the claim itself is absurd. If you believe Iran is threatening anything against anyone I truly feel for your ability to be that absolutely ignorant about what’s actually happening in this world today. I can guarantee you Iran is concerned about using what resources they have to protect their people.
In this country, medical workers are overwhelmed and that’s going to get worse. Instead of having a government like the one in socialist Cuba, which is coordinating and facilitating protection for their people – as well as about 40 other countries worldwide that need support, this country cannot even facilitate a national coordination program. It cannot do that for even basic equipment like masks and ventilators. In fact, the federal government is actually competing with states for supplies. State leadership in various states have compared this process to being at a swap meet or garage sale. Again, this is the most resource rich country on earth. All of this is only able to happen (or not happen) because of our willingness to permit it to happen.
Finally, socialist Cuba has been utilizing Interferon – the drug they developed to treat HIV patients. Its an anti-viral drug and they are experiencing so much success with the patients they have used it on that those other 40 countries asked, and received, Cuban medical personnel and Interferon to treat their people. Meanwhile, the U.S. has the most COVID 19 cases in the world. Over 200,000 at this writing, with no treatment drugs in sight. Cuba has offered Interferon to this government and they have not only refused, but the U.S. is actively working to attempt to sabotage Cuba’s ability to use the drug in other countries. Why? Because profit is all that matters to these people who run this country. Cuba’s socialist model, where they are providing Interferon without profiting as an act of internationalism, not money making, is an absolute threat to capitalism. Its not what Big Pharma wants its political spokespersons to advocate for. That’s why most people don’t know any of this. The other reason people don’t know is they aren’t paying attention.
One last time, no one is criticizing anyone for trying to maintain their sanity, but that can never relinquish us from our responsibility to humanity. No matter what difficulty you believe you are facing today, someone before you had 50 times as much and that person(s) never had the luxury of giving up. Of not paying attention. You are in the position of privilege you are in today because of those people who wouldn’t give up. So, that can never be an excuse. We have got to start paying attention. We have got to start speaking up. We have got to start coming together and building organizational mechanisms that hold this system accountable to us. This is necessary to address all of these issues raised here and many that were not. If we don’t do that, if we just hunker down, we are putting in place a reality where at some point, none of us will be safe. Once we move down that road, and that day is not that far in front of us, the anxiety and fears people are doing so much to avoid now will look like a day at Disneyworld compares to what awaits us.