The Shutdown We Truly Cannot Afford

Why can’t we afford another shutdown? The economy, the elections…So we force sick employees back into the workplace and traumatized students back into the schoolhouse…What about the workers whose personal lives fall apart under the stress? What about the drop in the labor force when so many are forced into early retirement? What about the mild cases that lead to permanent disability? What about those already too weak to fight off another round? Why can’t we slow down? Is it really too hard to recover afterwards?

We are only driving ourselves deeper into the ground. We can’t afford not to slow down. We can’t be afraid of another shut down. We need to stop and take a hard look at ourselves. What is truly important? If our kids learn compassion but not algebra this year…If every family has food on the table but no one has extras this year…If our country holds itself together but is not the greatest this year…I’d call it a great win.

There are two rules our leaders are ignoring here:

  • Crisis is a call for transformation. It is a great opportunity, but it must be heeded. It will continue to call louder and louder until it is answered with authentic self-reckoning and action.
  • If you want to know the solution, look to the most marginalized and vulnerable members of the population. At any given moment, what uplifts and cares for the most marginalized and the most vulnerable will uplift and care for society at a whole. You say we cannot afford to take care of everyone. I say one true shutdown in 2020 would have ended the pandemic in 2020. Keeping everyone masked and social distancing in Spring of 2021 would have blunted the Delta waves. You thought it too risky back then. Now those pasts look rosy by comparison.

What we need right now are leaders who are willing to die for their people, who are willing to end their political careers by taking care of individual lives and not the economy, who are willing to win hearts and not elections. We the people are tired of politics masquerading as science, of corporate interests masquerading as government. This must end before it brings us all down. That is the true shutdown that worries me.

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