I haven’t written anything in a while. The world has changed so quickly and so severely that my full energy has been needed to process it all. My uber safe ‘Job for Life’ in the Aviation sector is all of a sudden precarious. A childhood accident that has left me immuno-compromised (but never really affected me) is now an Achilles heel. There is no school or much of anything. Strangers are now potentially deadly. We are living in a sci fi movie.
Seeing so many people try to make a positive contribution in this crisis has been very heartening. The vast majority of people are decent. I’ve heard countless stories of people shopping for neighbours or entertaining other people kids by making puzzles or activities online. People are providing food for hospital staff and countless other iniatives that are really making a difference. There is much to like about the human race.
Of course, there have been exceptions and I have both witnessed and heard about incredibly selfish behaviour or constant complaining from people that should know better. I’ve tried to keep to the mantra that in a crisis people all react differently. We must cut everyone some slack, even the dopes. (Except anyone who spits of coughs deliberately at someone else, they should be put in prison for years).
When confronted with crisis over the years my gut feeling has usually been to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in. I’ve never been comfortable behind the lines. This time is different. Sometime around the year 2050 I expect to be telling my grandkids about the Covid 19 crisis of 2020. I’ll be telling them how I stayed home to mind their parents so their Grandmother could go back to work as an I.C.U. Nurse. I will be incredibly proud.
We can’t all be healthcare professionals, Supermarket Staff or Cleaners. The less heroic roles are important too. The most important thing we can do at times like this is what we can. And with a good attitude. There will be (hopefully) no reruns. This is all our World Cup final. Future generations will be asking us about this time for as long as we live.
When in a crisis it is very hard to see beyond it. Our full energy is being used to process the now. What comes next is important though. The only thing certain is that the world will be forever changed. What might that change look like? Will it be better or worse?
Crisis of this scale can be used by bad actors to benefit themselves. Democracy probably died in Hungary years ago but it’s definitely dead now. Victor Orban has used Covid 19 to cement his role as dictator. Hungary is an E.U. country. This one is close to home. There will be other opportunistic hard men. The so-called greatest democracy of all, the United States of America, is in a precarious position.
President Trump thinks nothing of taking medical supplies from other countries. He will think nothing of pausing democracy in the name of crisis. The U.S. has long believed that their extensive system of checks and balances would protect against a potential dictator. Donald Trump has barrelled through a lot of them. He doesn’t care about convention or propriety. His base doesn’t care for truth or facts. The fact that these morons make up almost 40% of the population there should set off alarm bells. Democracy is not safe in the U.S.A. Even if an election happens and Trump loses, he will likely spin it as a fix. Many of his moron supporters have guns. Covid 19 could spell trouble for freedom in the land of the free.
On the other hand there are reasons to be hopeful. Income inequality has been growing at an ever-quickening rate. The financial collapse of 2008 saw the wealthy make out like bandits at the expense of ordinary people. Banks and big business were bailed out. Everybody else has been paying for it since. This has resulted in higher levels of inequality than ever. Precarious employment is now widespread and homelessness rates are far too high. Access to healthcare is not universal in many countries and the system here has been at crisis levels for years.
It is still early but there are clear signs that this time will be different. Both the U.S.A. and Britain are engaging in direct payments to ordinary people. Neither of these countries have leadership that could possibly be accused of harbouring left-wing leanings of fairness and equality. And yet ordinary people are being ‘bailed out’. The penny seems to have dropped.
Consumers need money to consume. Businesses fail when consumers have no money. Give money to consumers. ‘Trickle Down Economics’ was always a lie made up by the rich to excuse their greed. ‘Trickle up’ economics is real though. Those of us outside the rich tent tend to spend most of the money we get. There are no offshore accounts here. The economies of the world will thank us when this is over.
The age of celebrity may well be over. Or at least lessened. The Kardashians aren’t on the front lines now. Healthcare and Supermarket workers are. I hope that the masses currently applauding from their houses remember who was important when things got serious. It wasn’t Love island. When these workers are forced to strike in the future, I hope the support remains. When an employer mistreats these workers in the future, I hope consumers vote with their feet. We will all be wiser for having lived through these times. Frivolity will suffer.
But who knows? Absolutely anything could happen in these crazy times. Like every other crisis in history, this will pass. The Chinese curse ‘May you live in interesting times’ has come to pass. We do.
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