A Pandemic Perspective
Everyone has a fantasy about what they would do in the face of danger, whether in the form of a fight, falling off of a cliff, or drowning in a river. For most people, this fantasy is harmless, just another example of how all human beings imagine themselves empowered. Problems arise when those fantasies of empowerment leak into the real world and are used to enact real danger on others who have no choice to escape. During this era of accountability, the United States has seen pain beyond anything that anybody could have imagined. There is a global pandemic, people are participating in racial uprisings, a depression has crushed the working class, climate change has raged forward, emotional alienation has caused widespread anxiety and depression, and people are dealing with all of this from a wide range of perspectives. Instead of leaders who can sacrifice their fantasies of what they might do if the country were in danger, we have been stuck with people who keep trying to give us the fantasy of what they would do — when the world populace actually is in danger.
With so many simultaneous crises, people with few resources and little power are overwhelmed. Most working class people are incredibly resilient and can respond to changes with enough communication, whether with their support system or their families. It hardly matters, because adjustment is what working class people do all the time. People with more money have little problem adjusting because they have the resources to handle catastrophes. The global pandemic did not allow any working class members the opportunity to respond or communicate in the normal way. Suddenly, everyone needed all this equipment ready and available, and many of us had been bankrupted by the need for new technology and new working opportunities with the ability to work from home — something the elite have consistently taken for granted. The upper echelons, however, did not experience much of a change in their lives, because they continued to have access to resources. Elites orchestrated their worlds to their liking and their comfort level, and they have that power.
The myth that everybody is so self interested that people would rather see others starve than pay more is more ironic, because there are already more examples of what happens when people pay more. Under those circumstances, employees work better among themselves and with management better because of an aura of collaboration, rather than hierarchy. During this depression, people had the opportunity to pay people more and pay themselves less. However, people with a great deal of money proved so incapable of seeing past themselves that they have become distraught that many no longer take it as a given that elites should have whatever they want, whenever they want. Instead of doing what was necessary to contain the pandemic, a lot of people in power began spouting nonsense designed to rile the populace up without the powerful having to face the consequences.
National sentiments that occurred during this quarantine in place have shifted and confronted many people from the United States with harsh realities. Folks generally fell between two groups. At the beginning of the quarantine, the first group of people thought, “Okay, I’m at home.” Hobbies and shows were rediscovered. People were able to see the time as a shift and an adjustment, but potentially a self actualizing moment. During the second phase of quarantine, people were desperately looking to connect to people outside their homes. They were incapable of being able to stay in place and find any value. In short, the time of self-awareness was actually creating a great deal more anxiety. Through endless meetings, there have been different employers who say alternatively, “Yes you can be at work” and “No, you should stay home.” Disparate incomes for “essential workers” versus employees was confusing for many, many people. In the final phase, everyone in the first group of people had lost their minds. Everyone felt entitled to continue life as it was before the quarantine. Everyone felt empowered to do whatever they wanted, and they felt that other people should have to pay the costs for their selfishness. They were emotionally incapable of being in their own space, and they felt that other people were required to participate with this fantasy. It was all about them.
For others, who were self aware, the quarantine took a different route. The first phase involved being uncertain, but recognizing a lack of control over illness or environmental factors, or even income. People were cautious about coercing the universe to comply with society. The second phase revealed that something was gravely wrong with this country. Many people had known of the issues for decades and centuries, but when at home, it became impossible to avoid seeing concrete and dangerous problems with how the country has been set up and maintained. The last phase was recognizing that what existed before the quarantine was toxic. The only way forward would be to have a legitimate and honest shift in paradigm: what existed before the quarantine was abominable and devalued the majority of humanity, let alone the population of the United States. Seeing this, demoralisation enraged people across the world, especially those having lived in the era of “great apologies” — slavery, apartheid, the Catholic church’s role during the Holocaust.
Everyone knows that apologies without changed behavior are meaningless, because the societal “leaders” seem not to care about the pain that they have forced on people. All levels of government have done nothing to assuage any of the population that they are cared for or well represented. Instead, governments on multiple levels have demonstrated that they are broken people who keep the system functioning to break more people. Status quo apologists parrot a possibility of change because this is an election year; the populace is told to comply with the rules as they are, when they are. Countless opportunities to appeal to the masses were unrealized for the leadership currently at the helm, as they failed to rise to the abounding crises. Thoughtlessly, they sent people home after slaughter and agitated the masses through indifference and repeatedly stupid miscalculations. That so much of leadership is older is actually irrelevant because people of all ages do amazing things. Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins got a Grammy in his 90s. Sister Madonna Buder, aka the “Iron Nun,” completed an Ironman triathlon at the age of 82. There are several actors who did not even get their start until they were at least 40, including Harrison Ford. Because the writing world depends on the readership, many writers start at many different points in their lives to get recognition and compensation. Age has nothing to do with the reason why nobody is excited about Congress, the judicial branch, or the executive branch. Unfortunately, older people in leadership are flaunting their entitlement to do whatever they want, whenever they want. Many feel justified in living in their heads as the people they used to be.
Government has dismissed racism on all levels, and is showing neither the capacity to adapt nor interest in addressing systemic racism. So many politicians who feel completely absolved of any responsibility to see their part in this catastrophe, other than to say, “Well, there are black politicians, gay politicians, and women.” That is the extent of their involvement. Looking around, so many people saw White people coming out of quarantine to murder Black people, and said, “Well, we have Black leadership, so everything is fine.” The message Congress projects is, “Because there are people of color, and queer people, and people with disabilities around us, that is the end of our responsibility. We have no part to play in changing how this works, and the people who get murdered deserve it. This is all we know.”
Because much of leadership consists of older people, there is a longstanding myth that everybody has decades of time to establish any other approach to governance, other than to take a long time, shake hands, go to dinner, and have all of this nonsense. There is no sense of urgency, which makes sense. Why would people who are affected by almost none of their policies have any regard for the people who are affected? Just because the law states that they are supposed to represent their constituents does not mean that they have accountability when they fail. Leadership has shaped a country where it can continue to alienate and destroy people’s existence without any consequences whatsoever. Despite pretty words and gestures, leadership feels no remorse for any of that. It may be audacious of people to say they feel no remorse, but actions speak louder than murals and syrup bottles. They have shown no remorse for their inability to get funding to people who desperately need it. Many of the property owners in leadership display their callousness when they fail to look at their real estate portfolios and say, “You know what? We need to stop making living and existing a dangerous endeavor. Closing a door should not be that hard if we’re in a pandemic and people are supposed to shelter in place.”
Quite frankly, there are too few consistent levels of good governance across the board. There are governors who do things that garner a lot of attention, but do other things that harm millions of people. Too many judges conveniently forget they have the capacity to make change, while other judges are getting respected for minor changes. There are too few local governments who think that now is the time to keep playing the game of tax incentives and luxury development, instead of recognizing that now is the time for demanding contribution and sacrifice from people who actually enjoy city services. No one is curbing the relentless impulse to participate in the status quo and disregard human life. Too much of this supposedly leadership relies on nostalgia because they are incapable of being consistently accountable. Nostalgia lies and says that what was in the past can be in the future. Leaders appear to have no capacity to understand that life has changed, and those circumstances are improbable to impossible. For the past 50 to 60 years, the nation has recognized that everybody driving cars creates traffic. No, everybody cannot have a single family house. Single-family zoning is racist policy designed to segregate Black and brown people from everybody else. No, everybody cannot keep buying things because consumption is impossible without money. No one is required to develop debt to comply with the dominant narrative.
Society must reject the notion that the elite can keep putting people in untenable situations where they have to pay thousands of dollars; the situation is worse than abusive. Too many of the current leaders are monsters who have neither empathy nor adaptability. The earth will survive without humans. That is not a question. If human beings want to have a fighting chance, society needs to remove people from power at all levels who cannot see anything other than what they have already done. People do not belong in power if they have no vision and lack the ability to work with people to create a vision. It is dangerous to keep people in positions of authority who believe that attention is the same as action. All of these crises could have shown leadership as a legitimate trait in the face of racial uprisings due to Black and brown people being out of the city limits for the comfort of rich White people. The response is to kneel, paint murals, and change nothing.
No one should have to wait to vote out dangerous people. So many of the officials should have enough self awareness to realize that they lack the capacity to solve these problems, and should leave. Nobody forces local governments to do nothing to address systemic inequity. It is not their right to demand that people feel comfortable with being abused by their greedy and pernicious neighbors to preserve the mythology of a city or town. No one told private entities, including the nonprofit entities, that they had the right to keep demoralizing all of humanity with their timetables and their attention-seeking maneuvers that changed nothing. Private entities were supposed to have all of the power to move quickly to respond to crises. No one told them to keep making themselves richer, making everyone poor while scoffing at everybody’s inability to survive. The manufactured poverty that these “leaders” have sustained demonstrates that they have no morality. Having different values in a changing socioecosystem is reasonable, but there is everything wrong with being a danger to society and allowing oneself to continue. Monsters in government are the worst, because they have the power to make the inhuman private entities behave in a way that addresses the dangers that currently exist, and they would rather get attention.
The healthcare industry should have evolved long before this; predictably, hospitals and universities thought it was more important to create administrative jobs that gave a few people a lot of people a lot of money. When there are people on the ground who are barely making it, the administrators proved that instead of developing more efficient supplies and more cost effective ways to treat major illnesses, they are unwilling to evolve. Insurance companies have been more than happy to block healthcare during a pandemic. At what point does society decide that people who stand between human beings and healthcare are bad people? When will society shun people who tell people “No” just to keep money? This crisis could have shifted everything about the healthcare industry. Yes, the federal level dissolved a lot of the pandemic preparation, but the industry has enough money to plan for a pandemic without approval from the federal government. The only excuse they have in their mind is, “Well we had no federal money, so our hands were tied.” Private industry could have stepped up, and they deflected. That is proof that healthcare in this country is worse than the cure itself, and is not prepared to shift.
Finally, if nobody on the federal level can see anything other than waiting for months and months to accomplish anything, there is no oversight or accountability. There is no sense of camaraderie with their constituents, or with anyone, really. Too many are obsessed with glad-handing and the lies of politics rather than the actual work of governance. No one can fix that. They could have passed a second stimulus weeks ago; $1200 dollars is not that much money. In fact, they are too pathological to recognize that their delay is literally killing people. The governance of the United States involves dangerous, immoral people who cause problems instead of fixing them. The local government is bogging down efforts aimed at defunding the police because officials lack the capacity to affirm that if a system hurts people, it should be disempowered. Residents have limited capacity to vote out that mindset, and leadership was unmoved by constituents marching. Bad people with bad behavior who project complicity with monsters who hurt people should be held accountable.
Attention is not action and the time for something different is upon us, not when the people in power feel like it. Everyone has the fantasy of what would happen in a crisis, but the working class knows that it would band together, get to know neighbors, figure out what capacities people have, and how to make changes. The working class would recognize that no one needs to seek positions of power; since nobody in power can do anything, why would people emulate them? People among the elite are simply obsessed with getting attention — so the populace stopped paying attention to them. The nation stopped paying attention to people with a profound need to abuse people.Those who were able sat in our homes and recognized that perpetuating the reality before quarantine is less important. The populace definitively understands that the elites need everybody to hurry up and do everything because if we all hurry, no one pays attention to their incompetence. Fast is not required, and everybody who attained some enlightenment from this pandemic has recognized the combination of crises has demonstrated what people would do in a crisis. And that the people in power are not the answer.