The coronavirus Covid-19 will bring out the best and the worst in each of us. I want to quoe from and add some comments to a Los Angeles Times March 26 article by Max Abelson and Donald Moore: "Some of the rich want work to resume."
"The billionaiare Tom Golisano was smoking a Padron cigar on his patio in Florida on Tuesday afternoon. He was worried. 'The damages of keeping the economy closed as it is could be worse than losing a few more people,' said Galisano, founder and chairman of the payroll processor Paychex Inc."
Like Golisano, Donald Trump, the US President, and many of his like-minded and wealthy thinkers, are speaking their minds....revealing for all to see their priorities and thoughts. For example, Abelson and Moore quote Dick Kovacevich, who at one point ran the bank Wells Fargo, as saying "We'll gradually bring those people back and see what happens. Some of them will get sick, some may even die, I don't know." ""Do you want to suffer more economically or take some risk that you'll get flu-like symptoms and a flu-like experience? Do you want to take an economic risk or a health risk? You get to choose."
One of the most shocking to me of these concerned for the health of the economy as opposed to the health and lives of real-life humans was the Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Abelson and Moore point out that "...on Fox News he said that Americans should get back to work and let "grandparents" take care of themselves. It's as if these let's risk a few deaths folks are thinking is that the weak and old and will soon die anyway, so let's abandon them to fate.
As Abelson and Moore point out, "Billionaires and other members of the elite have the luxury of social distancing while making money. The ones who want workers back in their jobs say they're aiming to stop millions from falling further into debt." Do I believe they are concerned for the little folk? I have to say, I don't
But this is also true. The biblical warning about rich men, camels, needles and the kingdom of God doesn't say or imply that it's impossible for a rich man to entere the kingdom of God, only that it would be difficult. Very difficult. But clearly in reality not impossible for all rich men. Here is a quote from Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks. "Ignore anything someone like me might say. Lives are at stake." He wants his fellow citizens to listen to the experts--the epidemiologists--instead of billionaires and executives.
Over the years, from the time of Abraham Lincoln until now, what has the Republican Party become? Times of stress bring out in high relief what we are as individuals. It does the same for a political party. The presidency of #DonaldTrump has been one of those times of stress. What is now very clear is that the US Republican party is the last bastion of patriarchy, dedicated to dominance, control, and power. Most often, and certainly if necessary, without regard to the common good. For example, contrast the stimulus package proposed by the Republicans versus the Democrats in this time of great need to respond to the personal and financial damage being done by the need to respond to the coronovirus Covid-19.
I'm basically an introvert. I'm an academic and an author so that's not surprising. But now that the coronavirus Covid-19 has caused California's governor to call for all citizens to go home and stay at home unless what you do in life is absolutely critical to civilized functioning....well...there was a post on Facebook yesterday that pictured a heavily tatooed, pensive man standing inside his room looking out the window. The caption read, "I've been training for this all my life." I laughed. That's me. I am not at all upset that I have been commanded to stay at home.
There was another article, in the Los Angeles Times two days ago, the heading of which read: "Day one of Shelter In Place. Piece of cake!" That also got me to chuckle. Right. Day one, piece of cake. How will it be by day 30? Or god forbid, day 40. Or longer? I suspect I the introvert will still be fine, but there are going to be extroverts who are going quietly crazy (it has a name: cabin fever). And today the New York governor, Andrew Cuomo, gave one of his excellent updates, and included a few thoughts for what we, including extroverts, can do to entertain ourselves, including working on being patient and kind. He mentioned families locked-in at home with the three kids and pointed out that he lives alone, and is already cranky with his dog. A humerous touch always make the medicine go down easier.
Unlike our tragically incompetent narcissistic President, the New York governor displays what leadership at its best looks like. We are very very fortunate that over the years the government of the US has been able to self-correct and learn from mistakes. Has generally been able to draw talented and sincere people into government service....a greater number than the basically crooks. Without our professional civil servants, health care professionals, research scientists, and politicians of the quality of Cuomo and my favorite at the moment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the nation would stagger and fall. As it is, I think I agree with Cuomo who said we would make it through and would come out the stronger for it. Or as expressed by Wili E Coyote: "What doesn't kill you only makes you stronger." That is assuming that our incompetent authoritarian threat, Donald Trump, is not reelected. Then....all bets are off. This could be the moment he and his allies take down the Republic.
The new coronavirus Covid-19 is turning life upside down in the whole country. You tend to realize, and feel, that you are no longer in control of a lot of things you've been taking for granted. I'm going to really miss seeing movies on big screens in a theater, for example. My favorite one, the Angelika, has closed for now.
A couple of days ago I read an article in the LA Times that suggested one way to have some control. It pointed out that small movie theaters having to close because of the coronavirus are going to be hit hard financially. Some may not even survive. The article mentioned that it was possible to support them by buying a gift certificate. Well, I thought, I want to support Angelika during these weeks, so I just bought a gift certificate for myself. I bought it online and had it sent to my email. I plan to do it once a week until they reopen. I post regularly on my Facebook page and so this morning I suggested that others who also want to keep their favorite small theater alive and well might want to do the same.
An article in today's LA Times also suggested that it's important to continue to pay the people you depend on, even if you don't use their service. They also depend on you, and they have bills and mortgages to pay and groceries to buy. In my case that will be my hairdresser and the massage I treat myself to once a month. I will miss the one I was to have today but I'll call in, pay, and leave a tip nevertheless.
Life must go on, and we indeed are all in this together. And there are many things we can control until it passes.
Research makes very clear that people who look on the brightside of life's events live with less physical stress and as a result, among other good things, tend to also live longer lives. Some of us are born bright-siders. They are often called a pollyanna, meaning that their nature is characterized by irrepressible optimism and a tendency to find good in everything. It's based on an 11-year old girl, a book character by that name. Pollyanna always managed to see the good in situations and people.
Well, I like my fellow Americans and all global citizens am now faced with an extraordinarily disorienting and potentially stressful or even fatal situation due to the coronavirus Covid-19. Everyone is asked, in some cases commanded, to "shelter in place." Go home, and stay there!
I am not a natural born pollyanna. My initial reaction was to be irritated by a number of inconveniences this triggers. But over the years I have learned to discipline my thoughts so that I actually stop and ask myself...what is the bright side here? And this morning I found mine for this situation. For several reasons I've been more or less playing around at writing my next novel. Always finding something else to do after only a few paragraphs written. Now that I really can't go out and do other things....well....if I get back into "professional mode" and write whether I feel like it or not, I could get this book, at least a first draft, half written before this voluntary quaranteen is up!
So that is my brightside to being forced to stay at home. The goal would be a chapter a day. That for me will be a challenge. I'm feeling pretty good about meeting it. And feeling good is very much what looking on the bright side is about.
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Dr. Judith Hand writes historical fiction, contemporary action/adventure, and screenplays. Hand earned her Ph.D. in biology from UCLA. Her studies included animal behavior and primatology. After completing a Smithsonian Post-doctoral Fellowship at the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., she returned to UCLA as a research associate and lecturer. Her undergraduate major was in cultural anthropology. She worked as a technician in neurophysiology laboratories at UCLA and the Max Planck Institute, in Munich, Germany. As a student of animal communication, she has written scientific papers on the subject of social conflict resolution.
Astronomy image credit: NASA: Full Hemisphere Views of Earth at Night.