BY JEANETTE LENOIR
Welcome to the new world brought to you by an invisible virus responsible for bringing countries to their knees, forcing people indoors or six feet apart in public to avoid being put six feet underground. We are at war with Coronavirus and the combatants are the common man against their governments and the wealthy corporations politicians are indebted to protect, first. History repeatedly proves gluttony for power and money comes with the license to govern. And it’s been long forewarned our planet has been churning to be in this exact position; a toxically divided space of rich and poor, weak and strong, environmentalists and climate science deniers, the sick and healthy, able and disabled bodies all in their respective corners holding onto the last threat of our common bond; humanity. We just lost our grip on sense and sensibility for fear of taking certain positions. As James Baldwin would put it, we are in the middle of a terrifying senility. To be black in America may be a terrible thing but worse is what America has done to itself as we stew in this disastrous Coronavirus vacuum due to lack of leadership and a firm commitment to human and civil rights.
The American illusion is comparative to a paper tiger. In theory, what this country imagines itself to be is certainly mighty, but tested, our vulnerabilities reveal otherwise. Public health crisis’s like Covid-19, SARS, Ebola and even the 1918 flu pandemic have consistently proven our dislocation to reality and full participation in democracy. As people drop dead without a cure or access to basic equipment and safety items like masks and gloves, Mitch McConnell and the GOP are fully engaged in lobbying on behalf of wealthy corporations and American elites to ensure they get first dibs at the Coronavirus Relief Act or The Cares Act. Unfortunately for those largely impacted by this pandemic, these greedy politicians’ only “Cares” are that the rich, once again, get to feed first from the government trough.
A recent article in The Atlantic, citing the Global Health Security Index—the issuing body of pandemic preparedness report cards for every country—found America holding the world’s highest score of 83.5 percent. So, how is the world’s valedictorian failing so miserably when millions of lives are at stake? Our country is deteriorating under bad management, racism and apathy. When basic human needs during a world crisis aren’t being met, it’s time to face the truth … American agony is American life.
Let’s do some unfolding. Schools are closed. Workers are laid off in mass numbers. Nurses are wearing trash bags to save lives. America doesn’t have enough gloves and face masks, or apparently the green light to mass produce them. We don’t have enough ventilators to help people breathe when they reach the peak of this respiratory disease. The bad blood between the President and journalists serves no good purpose, as their interactions continues to propagate global discontent. Trump is even accusing hospitals and governors of hoarding crucial supplies like masks and ventilators in an effort to smear him and his handling of the health crisis on our hands, surfaces and in droplets in the air. Don’t touch your face!
Honesty, decency, brains and basic trust in government left the White House with Obama, leaving us with a President only capable of passing out PTSD like the paper towels he enjoys throwing into crowds. There’s also the ever present media frenzy to capitalize on the business of tragedy, fueling hysteria and confusion among people they’re “informing.” Healthcare workers are dying from exposure and forced to work long hours to bridge the gap of America’s overburdened, underpaid and exhausted workforce. America needs more than a political revolution to reign in this chaos and breakdown in government. We need a moral and economic revolution to right their wrongs, because we have to exist more than to fill the interests of the rich. James Baldwin said, “Freedom is a dangerous thing but anything else is disastrous.” The sentiment touches the heart of this moment in our history. If our current response to the Coronavirus epidemic isn’t clear evidence we’re confronting it shaped like a paper tiger, the mighty Eagle will continue this trajectory of weakness and never find its way out of our idealistic labyrinth.