With the new lock down decree going into effect last night, life will become more difficult in Spain. We will not be able to contemplate what we could even 24 hours ago. Airports and trains stations closed. Motorways (freeways) shut down. If you’re from the US it’s hard to imagine.
With so much time on my hands I’ve opened up Twitter after many months of not ever checking it. In a situation like this, there is both good and bad information on there. And the average user has no time to entertain trolls. People are dying. But there was a thread this morning and it got me thinking.
The writer suggested that they shut down NYC, like now. On a normal day, this would have elicited a backlash of epic proportions. Accusations of ‘overreaction’ or ‘buying in to the media hype’. Things like that. But I scrolled through the thread and all the comments and there was none. Finally, Americans are starting to get it. You can’t wish your way out of social ills. Holding up a sign of ‘Freedom’ doesn’t keep you and your family safe. Thoughts and prayers have not worked.
It’s made me wonder if this virus will change our thinking in the US. If we we can make the connection between the pandemic of a virus and the pandemic of the proliferation of guns in our country. I wonder. Virus are organisms. People are organisms. As we stop this virus can we take a moment and stop ourselves. Use this opportunity when we’re all taking stock – and hoarding toilet paper – to appreciate what we have, and that includes each other. Begin to value ourselves, and each other, over profits. People over Wall Street.
In Spain, we’ve watched what the UK has done during this crisis. The British government has come out and said they expect to lose a lot of people – it’s just going to happen. Doing nothing to stop it so that the healthy – and wealthy – can acquire ‘herd immunity’. Essentially, they’re culling the herd – of freaking humans!! Weeding out the old, sick and infirm. The poor who are a drain on their system. On purpose. Sounds very Hitler 1930’s and 40’s to me. But what we see from over here in Spain is that they’re favoring profits over people’s health. And we are appalled.
So maybe, just maybe. this virus is a wake up call for America. Sometimes it’s OK not to exercise all our freedom, all the time. Sometimes doing so will get you killed. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll come out of our slumber and realize that in clinging to our guns we’ve made ourselves less free. By holding it up an instrument of death as a symbol of our freedom, we are killing ourselves.
And then I think of the health systems in the US. Stories about a man being charged $3500 to get one of the early tests in Seattle. And his insurance company refusing to cover it until he provided 3 years of medical records proving it wasn’t a ‘pre-existing condition.’ For the ‘Novel Coronavirus’ never seen before? And it makes me wonder if, finally, dare I hope that finally the country will wake up and realize we need Universal Health Care – or Medicare for All? Health care is a human right, not just for the right humans!
The longer this goes on and we ‘re all locked in our homes having exhausted everything on streaming t.v., read Twitter for the zillionth time, and run out of food – but not toilet paper – maybe we’ll give it a little think and all come to the same conclusion. The world has fundamentally shifted over night and the old ways no longer work. Beating the same drums will not rally the masses to believing nonsense anymore, making them feel safe in the arms of corporations and mad old white men just won’t do.
We talk to people back in the US and tell them what is happening here. ‘Yeah, that’s pretty much what we’re experiencing over here.’ they say. They have no clue. The wave that is coming. But they will very soon. Ask the people of China, Iran, Italy, and now Spain. We know. The unseen threats of pandemic and climate change are not fought with bullets , profit and rhetoric. They’re fought with humanity, a functioning national healthcare system, and cooperation – at the local and global level. I hope we learn it before it’s too late.