What kind of society do I want? one where the lives of the elderly, the immunocompromised and the vulnerable are prioritized over the dollar. I trust we can figure out what to do abt the economy. We cannot replace people and relationships.
There are a million reasons why this prioritization makes sense to us. Vulnerable aren’t less valuable people. The most vulnerable doesn’t mean the only people who are vulnerable. There is no evidence that ignoring the pandemic will help the economy. Even if we assume the economy will be helped, what does it matter if we can share that economy with people we love? The reasons why this prioritization of people matters goes on and on and on.
But I wonder if I might share one more thought, in addition to all these. A thought about justice.
From America’s beginning, our structure of capitalism has been comfortable with sacrificing the bodies of particular groups of people. Slavery was deemed necessary for America’s economy to be strong. Genocide of native peoples was deemed necessary for the America’s ownership of land. Japanese families were placed in camps in the name of America’s safety, and many of their business and homes were stolen in the wake of that injustice. America has often changed is deportation measures based on America’s economy. There are a number of other examples, but I hope I’ve made the point.
The argument being used here, that some people must sacrifice their lives in order to save the rest of us from a bad economy has been used to justify pain, suffering, death. It’s an old argument, and now we must decide that enough is enough.
We are already shouting from the rooftops about the ways systemic injustices show up in our everyday “normal” lives. Now, here we are in a global pandemic, still standing for justice. Still declaring that it is unacceptable to create new injustices - the sacrificing of the elderly, immunocompromised and more who will die of this virus.
There are many injustices that the pandemic is making stark. But adding new injustices won’t fix this. Adding injustice is never the moral answer.
I trust that we are creative enough, kind enough, generous enough to figure out what to do about the economy. And I say that as a Black woman whose income has just stopped cold. I’m scared and nervous and anxious and frustrated. And none of that is a good enough reason to decide that there is a group of people we should stop fighting for. I will not prioritize the dollar over people- even my own dollar.
I know you believe the same. So even while we feel all of our feelings- many of which are changing moment to moment. Hear me say, that I stand with you. I stand with the vulnerable. I stand with our elders. I stand with the immunocompromised. I stand with those who are disabled, who have a chronic illness, who are already fighting to stay alive. I stand with children and grandchildren who are afraid of losing someone they love. I stand with the imprisoned, who are scared and trapped. I stand with attorneys still defending undocumented Americans. I stand with undocumented Americans who are scared to seek help for sickness. I stand with pregnant women who must give birth alone, or largely alone. I stand with kids who are scared, students who are disappointed. I stand with everyone who misses physical contact with your community, but does so out of love.
I stand with you. I’m with the choir.
Typos exist to prove your love and grace unto me.