If you work for a living and are on the front lines having to show up for work during this coronavirus crisis you don’t have to be religious to identify with Jesus, who went to the cross not because God deemed it so, but because he was sold out by Judas: for money! Like Jesus, many of us thought the bosses (Judas) was our friend, many thought the company (Judas) cared about us and that they had a contract with the government; (Judas) you pay it taxes and allegiance, provide it underpaid and cheap labor and it provides some basic needs (well at least free K-12 education) and in turn it provides protection.
Except it is not protecting you, during this pandemic it has actually betrayed you.
I asked a cashier at one of the hippy dippy co-op stores in the supposedly liberal and progressive Twin Cities, why she didn’t have a mask on and she said she couldn’t afford the $25 dollars the store was asking for it. Of course that was before it was said scarfs were fine. But that was symbolic of the great betrayal, us regular folks are experiencing in the US.
Even with lives literally on the line, the capitalists are still putting their need for profit first. Right before our very eyes they put fellow workers lives at risk. We should never ever forget what they did here during this pandemic. In essence, they have betrayed the contract we thought we had with the bosses and the government.
We knew we were being robbed, but most people gladly overlooked it and traded that to say they lived in the richest, most efficient and modern country in the world. Yes it offers the best of everything if you are rich, especially if you are rich and White.
It reminds me of an old Richard Pryor joke, in which he was talking to someone in a Third World country who was marveling at how great things are in the US who said to Pryor in effect, “in America you can get anything you need, live wherever you want, eat whatever you want.” Pryor responded in a way that he only he could, “yeah that’s true, if you got a pistol.”
The capitalists have put a symbolic and figurative pistol to the heads of lots of our fellow Americans. These soul-less corporate thugs forced workers into a kind of “Sophie’s choice,” stay home and risk starving and eventual homelessness or go to work and risk your life.
They said we were all in this together one big happy nation, but workers got drafted and were sent to the front; unarmed, unprepared and underpaid. And unlike Jesus they didn’t get as much as a kiss!
In one of the worst betrayals of humankind since the US Reconstruction after slavery (How else would one categorize it?), a large percentage of the US working class was forced to work after it was clear that this virus was contagious and potentially deadly. And we can’t even get tested. South Korea and even China eventually tested everyone.So they are perfectly willing to sacrifice some of us because there is no money in it for them no real benefit. They are culling the herd right in front of us and some people are debating Biden or Trump. Really! Folks still believe either one or their party’s give a damn
But the so-called essential workers; grocery store clerks, cashiers, fast food window attendants, nursing home attendants, bus drivers, construction worker, warehouse workers, postal carriers, sanitation workers, major delivery people working for Amazon, UPS, FedEx and smaller companies, ambulance drivers, delivery people and (even more incredibly the very people we depend on to nurse us back to health), health care and medical professionals were sent out to their job without any protection.
That’s right front line medical personnel have been forced to work without PPE (personal protection equipment) one would think that the capitalists would at least protect the people who have to care for the sick and infected, after all if those who care for the infected get ill, who is going to care for the citizens.
Exactly! Make any excuse you want, but the naked unadulterated truth is is the owners of the health care systems, the grocery store owners, the Amazon’s, the rulers of this country don’t give a damn. What else explains their foot dragging? What else explains the number of infected health care workers who have contracted the virus? . Buzzfeed News just reported that 5,400 doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers have contracted COVID-19 and that dozens around the country have died.
In some places the bosses discourage grocery workers from wearing masks because it may scare off the customers. Thankfully many workers like Chris Smalls formerly of Amazon (he was fired for actions the companies top lawyer a real pig David Zapolsky, who works for one of the world’s biggest pig Jeff Bezos called “immoral”) Can you imagine a bigwig in a US corporation forcing workers to work without protection from the coronavirus, fixing his mouth to say the word immoral? Clearly despite all his degrees no one taught him the meaning of the word.
Workers all over from Pittsburgh, Seattle, New York Detroit, Birmingham Alabama have been standing up for themselves, Many walked out, others protested but they all were saying out loud their lives have more value than money.
The COVID-19 has caused a shortage of N-95 masks that help keep medical workers safe by filtering what can be breathed in, standard masks, gloves and ventilators. Most would assume since the country really needs them the companies that produce them would sell them at cost with maybe a small profit. But instead unscrupulous manufacturers have forced states into a bidding war.
“You now literally will have a company call you up and say, ‘Well, California just outbid you,’” Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said last week. “It’s like being on eBay with 50 other states, bidding on a ventilator.”
That’s right people are dying, but they are prioritizing profit making!
And of course nothing stops racism, which is as American as apple pie, not disease or even the threat of death: absolutely nothing. And this pandemic proves unquestionably there is never, I mean never a time-out for some White folks irrational race hatred. I am starting to suspect that the last word out of the mouth of some White Supremacist before they draw their last breath is a racial epithet.
Consequently it is unlikely Asian America is still feeling like the favored minority. White folks are no longer smiling at them, telling them they are favored. Of course to their credit many of my radical Asian brothers and sisters have been trying to hip their community to this for a while. They shouldn’t be so hard to convince after this. There are reports of as many as 100 incidents of verbal and even physical harassment aimed at our Asian American brothers and sisters, daily!
While our heads are turned watching the damage being done to the country and our fellow human beings, for good measure the US Supreme Court has quietly been undermining our rights. In one ruling, they underhandedly gave the police a bit more lee-way in making what are in essence, unjustified nuisance stops. And for good measure they literally took away some Wisconsinites right to vote by declaring their mail in ballots invalid.
Betrayal is the order of the day as the Dem-I-can’ts and the Republi-crats both were to blame for putting voters at risk in Illinois and Florida two weeks ago and Wisconsin last Tuesday. Incredibly with the novel coronavirus ravaging the land, the Wisconsin Supreme Court thought it was wise to hold a primary presidential election. And DNC chairperson Tom Perez can stop with the phony complaints. His party could have simply urged people to stay home.
And what good would a crisis in the US be without hurting Black folks? Black folks are dying in disproportionate numbers and unfortunately even now, too many are not taking this seriously, some are still calling it a hoax while others are blaming it on 5G and the tooth fairy.
The New York Times astutely observed, “For many public health experts, the reasons behind the disparities are not difficult to explain, the result of longstanding structural inequalities. At a time when the authorities have advocated staying home as the best way to avoid the virus, Black Americans disproportionately belong to part of the work force that does not have the luxury of working from home, experts said. That places them at high risk for contracting the highly infectious disease in transit or at work.”
And we know who belongs disproportionately to the workforce that is considered essential. Primarily poor and People of Color. And they are dying to work.
Where is cool daddy-O, Barack Obama to remind us that there is no Black America, no Latin America, no Asian America, no working class America, no poor America, just America? It does not appear we are all in this together, in fact it is clear that a large part of America has been,”had” “sold out,” took,” “bamboozled,”hoodwinked,” just plain betrayed!
And no Trump didn’t betray anyone. Folks with good sense knew he was an incompetent, ego maniacal hustler! And Bernie Sanders didn’t sell anyone out by leaving the presidential race. Folks paying attention were well aware that the avowed rebel outsider always had one foot stuck firmly on the inside. In the words of my old friend Denny Green,” they were, who we thought they were.”
Now that the masks are off, shields down, curtains open, the facade removed and all pretense by the bosses and rulers to human concern, decency, empathy and compassion exposed, it is time to put down the flag down, close the fairy tale and turn off the programming and promise ourselves that if we live through this, we will make them pay.
For those of us who survive this epidemic, this tragi-comedy of unforced errors, it will be our charge to demand that we never ever go back to “business as usual!”
justice then peace