It isn’t the “normal life” as described above that gives me pause. It’s what has passed for normal life on the political scene.
“Never let a crisis go to waste,” we’ve been told at various junctures. If ever there was a time to heed this, it is now. My apprehension grows out of a concern that we’ll allow this, the quintessential crisis of our time, to eventually “resolve” without addressing the deep flaws it has made so glaringly apparent. Such things as …
- A health insurance system heavily dependent on employers—at a time when large numbers will be unemployed
- An economic system in which labor unions have been eviscerated, leaving individual workers relatively powerless and often resulting in stagnating wages and benefits while income inequality, aided by welfare for the wealthy, takes on a life of its own
- Growing homelessness, drug addiction, underemployment, and astonishingly low minimum wages at both state and federal levels
- A presidential electoral system that too frequently lifts into office candidates who fail to win the popular vote and currently has brought us the most unqualified and inept president in history
- Lack of effective campaign spending limits in our post-Citizens United world which often turns legislators into tools of big-money contributors at the expense of the voters who sent them to Washington and perpetuates all of the above
And those don’t even begin to cover the immense challenges of climate change which threatens to make the planet uninhabitable and the need for upgraded, new and improved infrastructure in the areas of mass transit, broadband, highways, and schools. The list goes on.
A year ago, we (I, anyway) couldn’t have imagined a scenario like the one we’re living through. The fact that we have a disorganized, uneducated leader exacerbates the situation, but this would have been difficult in any event. We’ve ignored for years all the early warning signs that we must address the many challenges we face. Now we have a global pandemic that has lit up our flaws like a klieg light. The emperor truly has no clothes and we have truly ignored the rot in Washington that has left many among us behind in so many ways. If this doesn’t get our attention and produce action to address deep and abiding injustice, I don’t know what will.