By Aaron Strain / Web Master
We face a global pandemic with unaffordable treatments and an obligation to work, a pending recession, a handout for large banks and industries with little if anything for us, and a shortage of toilet paper and other essential supplies on our shelves.
What can we do as the world dissolves around us?
In this time of uncertainty, one thing is abundantly clear – we can not go back to the status quo.
Things were already bad – job insecurity, medical bankruptcy, climate change, etc. This pandemic has just exposed all the failures of the established institutions that we were told to trust because they would protect us. It was only a matter of time before they became too bald-faced broken for us to handle.
A decade from now, we will look back at this moment, examining if our governments and ourselves did everything we could to ease suffering and avoid the next crisis.
We will ask:
Did we provide for the needs of our most vulnerable – the homeless, the poor, the elderly? Because we knew that we were as strong as our weakest link.
Did we guarantee paid leave and medical treatment free of charge? Because we knew that the unaffordability of drugs and hospital stays forced people to go into work sick and spread the virus and other illnesses to their co-workers.
Did we continue these programs after we crawled out of our bunkers? Because we needed to ensure that we were prepared for the next crisis and that we moved past our draconian standards for healthcare.
Did we suspend utility cutoffs, evictions, and car tags, mortgage, and student loan billing? Because we knew that these would cripple and be unaffordable for those who lost their jobs.
Or, did we sit idly by while Wall Street was bailed out again with nothing for the average person? Did we say “I’m apolitical” while what remained of a social safety net was destroyed before our eyes?
Because, as anti-Apartheid activist Desmond Tutu said, “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
We must reflect upon our past as a society and learn from it. We must push forward to make our communities and planet more equitable, healthier, and just if we are to make it out the other side alright.
These are not easy questions to answer, and these tasks are not easy to complete. We cannot accomplish these goals if we are complacent and disengaged. We all have the time now to follow the news, read up on history, become politically active, and vote on mail-in ballots in May and November.
It is within our power, and, at this point, like no other, it is morally imperative to do so.
Register to vote, check your registration and request a mail-in ballot at ksvotes.org.
The last day to request a ballot for the May 2 primary election is April 17.
More information about the coronavirus, including symptoms and how to proceed if you are feeling ill, can be found on the KDHE website at kdheks.gov/coronavirus. The website and public releases are updated daily by 5 p.m. Alternatively, call the KDHE phone bank during regular business hours at 1-866-534-3463 (1-866-KDHEINF) or email COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org. These lines do not provide medical evaluations.