Anniversaries are a good time to take stock. It’s now been a year since the WHO declared that we were officially in a “world-wide pandemic”. We all have snapshots in our heads — images of long lines outside grocery stores and empty shelves inside — that we never imagined possible. Not here in America. Good, bad or indifferent, the past 365 days have been like no other any of us have ever experienced. They’ve tested us in ways we never thought we’d be tested — as individuals, as a country, as a culture.
The past year has changed us, too, whether we like it or not. President Biden just signed a Covid-19 Relief bill (approved by over 70% of Americans) that won’t just put needed cash into 85% of Americans’ pockets, but will, in fact, structurally change parts of America’s social safety net. Right out the gate, by paying parents a kind of “Social Security For Kids”, the bill will reduce the child poverty rate by 30%.
That’s a good thing, right?
What do we imagine this slightly different version of America — of the world — will be like? What hardships might that cause and to whom? What benefits might be derived — and by whom? One person’s lockdown has been another person’s fortune. Aside from getting some semblance of normal back, is there anything good we can take with us from our Pandemic Year into the future?
Yeah, we’re stepping into a Brave New World, all right — let’s talk about it!
Or, if you prefer to watch..
Key Question: How do we best help one another in this brave new world?
How are you taking advantage of this “in-between” time? The world is slowly opening up. It is on the horizon. We can feel it. So what will you do between now and then to prepare? Let me make a suggestion.
Not a passive kind of waiting, just hanging out to pass the time, but an active waiting. A waiting which is ready to let go of the past. A waiting that is intentionally preparing for whatever weather this new world brings.
Wait by getting three things straight in your mind:
1-What habits in your life withstood the challenge of the pandemic?
2-What new habits did you build during the past year that you want to take with you into the future?
3-What habits did you let go of in the pandemic that you want to leave behind for good?
Take time now, before the world opens up again, to get ready. The world needs people who are ready to make good happen.
For the sake of our lives, our relationships, our community…and our world; wait.
I’ll toot my own horn here if just for a second. Not much tooting, actually — it wasn’t rocket science to predict how the pandemic — the shut-down in particular — would ultimately change America. We paid a heavy price for having a health INSURANCE system vs a health CARE system. They’re not the same thing. When anyone walks in the door of our “health system” (such as it is), our first question isn’t “How can we fix you”, it’s “How’re you gonna pay for this?” You cannot have profit incentive inside a health CARE system. Those are mutually exclusive propositions. Companies have a fiduciary obligation to choose profits over patients.
Pandemics begin with one person infecting one other person — and then we’re off to the viral races. If the cost of basic health care precludes anyone not getting health care? We are guaranteeing ourselves that we’ll live forever in a constant state of viral flux, only ever a step ahead of the pathogens if we’re lucky.
By the time it’s done with us, Covid-19 will have made socialized medicine a fact of life in America. Same goes for UBI.
When cash flowing the economy from the bottom up (versus hoping something might “trickle down) produces an economy that roars back to life, Americans will begin to understand how UBI (Universal Basic Income) works and how it can work for America. If, two years from now, we make the child tax credits permanent (and good luck to the Republicans — many of whom approve of the credits even though they voted against the bill — taking THAT away from people), we will be well on the way to eliminating childhood poverty in America completely.
Life has bombed us with lemons recently. Let’s use them to make lemonade. Better still — let’s make lemon daiquiris. And lemon cake. Let’s make a whole house of lemons. What positives can we make from a year of mostly negatives?