My Covid Times Diary – Inequality
As long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality exist in our world, none of us can truly rest. ~ Nelson Mandela
So here we are in week four or five of our shelter in place existence. As I’ve talked about before, I’m a prepper light, so I was prepared materially for some sort of cataclysmic event that would cause me to be locked down. After listen to a particularly distressing news story today about the interruptions beginning to really show cracks in our food distribution system, I did a little calculating. I figure I have 2-3 weeks easily of regular food. I also have enough Top Ramen and the like for another 12 days, my emergency pasta, rice and bean supply probably covers another month or so and then of course a box of 10 MRE’s that give me ten more days. Finally another 2 weeks of camping meals. So without any rationing I have almost 3 months of food on hand. Even some minor rationing would give me a full 4-5 months of food.
Even more importantly though, as someone who has read and researched survival and prepping material for years, I’m also somewhat mentally prepared for this sort of thing as well. I’m someone who has home defense, bugout and obviously food reserve plans. It helps being a pretty significant introvert on the Meyers-Briggs scale and being comfortable with my own company. I’m fortunate to be in a career where I can work from home and so I still have a job. I live in an area where it’s still easy to get outside and exercise, where in 10 minutes I can take a walk on the beach. So I’ve got a pretty good situation even in the midst of a global pandemic.
I was prepared for the worry that I would have for the people I care about, family and friends all over the globe in a wide variety of places and economic conditions. Worrying about their state of mind and health is not a surprise, I was ready for that.
There were a couple of things I wasn’t ready for however. The first is the litter, sounds like a small thing I know, but litter has always really bothered me. Ever since I was a kid and clearly remember my parents taking our trash and tossing it out the window of our car in the late 60’s. Hell maybe the commercial with tearful Native American just got to me. But since this whole shelter in place thing has started I’ve been absolutely sickened by the litter. Particularly the number of latex gloves that I see everywhere on the ground, it makes me sad and angry.
The other thing I was absolutely not ready for was how glaringly and visibly obvious a situation like this would show up the level of inequality in America. I’m watching the lowest paid workers in America risk their lives to make not much more than minimum wage. I’m reading and listening stories to people dying because they are afraid to access healthcare because of the cost. At my own college it’s the IT people, the custodians and security officers who are on campus every day while the rest of us work safely from home. There are over 15 million people who have filed for unemployment in the last three weeks. This event is landing so heavily on the poor, the homeless, the under educated, underemployed, the uninsured and minority populations who fall at higher than their overall population percentages in each of these categories. It’s a big part of the reason African Americans are dying at insanely higher rates.
I knew, we knew, all of this was here. We’ve all done our bit haven’t we? But whatever we’ve done, we haven’t done enough. Our Covid Times have shown us our American shame. The wealthiest country to ever exist has far too many people who are poor, left out of the riches, under and uninsured, not educated and more susceptible to death from a tiny little virus that we cannot even see. It hurts to see this up close, my only hope, the only possible silver lining in any of this, is that as a nation we see the shame, and more importantly hold on to it after things return to normal. That through our political and social process we decide to make real change in our society. Hell, maybe we’ll pay attention to the environment and global warming as well, I mean if I’m going to dream, I may as well dream big. ~ Michael ‘Rev’ Kane