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Author Topic: US politics and Coronavirus  (Read 2393 times)

Anon100

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US politics and Coronavirus
« on: March 30, 2020, 05:27:17 pm »
A sudden question struck me ( bear in mind I'm somewhat isolated from US politics ).

Has the Coronavirus pandemic slowed the recent hardship and prejudice in the US?

Aster Breo

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Re: US politics and Coronavirus
« Reply #1 on: March 30, 2020, 08:49:16 pm »


A sudden question struck me ( bear in mind I'm somewhat isolated from US politics ).

Has the Coronavirus pandemic slowed the recent hardship and prejudice in the US?

Ha!

No. If anything, it's made inequality more pronounced.

For example, hundreds of thousands of people have been laid off and have applied for unemployment (including my husband, my daughter, and myself). That drastic cut in income will hit poorer people harder. A lot of laid off people are losing their health insurance, which will hit poorer people harder. And poorer people have fewer resources to simply cope with isolation, like computers, internet access, and TVs. There's much more, but that should give you the idea.

A huge portion of the workers currently considered "essential" are food service workers, grocery clerks, and delivery drivers - who tend to be part time, because companies deliberately limit hours to just under full time so they don't have to give benefits like paid sick leave and health insurance. So those people have to continue working in jobs that expose them to great risk, but they're the least likely to be able to take sick leave or get treated for illness. Which means they're more likely to work even while sick. (The relief bill that just passed is supposed to provide free coverage for coronavirus testing and treatment, which is good. But it doesn't do anything for people who have other illnesses or injuries.)

Plus, thanks to the Idiot-in-Chief, racism continues to increase, especially against people of Asian decent. Because people are often both stupid and evil.

So, no.

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Altair

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Re: US politics and Coronavirus
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2020, 11:09:33 pm »

Ha!

No. If anything, it's made inequality more pronounced.

For example, hundreds of thousands of people have been laid off and have applied for unemployment (including my husband, my daughter, and myself). That drastic cut in income will hit poorer people harder. A lot of laid off people are losing their health insurance, which will hit poorer people harder. And poorer people have fewer resources to simply cope with isolation, like computers, internet access, and TVs. There's much more, but that should give you the idea.

A huge portion of the workers currently considered "essential" are food service workers, grocery clerks, and delivery drivers - who tend to be part time, because companies deliberately limit hours to just under full time so they don't have to give benefits like paid sick leave and health insurance. So those people have to continue working in jobs that expose them to great risk, but they're the least likely to be able to take sick leave or get treated for illness. Which means they're more likely to work even while sick. (The relief bill that just passed is supposed to provide free coverage for coronavirus testing and treatment, which is good. But it doesn't do anything for people who have other illnesses or injuries.)

Plus, thanks to the Idiot-in-Chief, racism continues to increase, especially against people of Asian decent. Because people are often both stupid and evil.

So, no.

Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk

This. All of it.

Economic disparities have marked U.S. society increasingly and for a long time, but the COVID crisis has exacerbated them and made them crystal clear. Wealthier people with second homes have cleared out of the New York City and have holed up in those much less population-dense locations; I can't blame them (indeed, some are my friends), but it underscores the difference money makes in one's ability to successfully weather these hardships.

(And not just second homes; everything from the wealthy having bigger apartments so that families suddenly confined together 24/7 don't kill each other, to the wealthy tending to have the kinds of jobs that haven't been eliminated overnight by the lockdown, makes a difference. And I am not unaware of my own relative wealth and good fortune in all of this; my job is such that I still have one and can work remotely indefinitely, and my apartment has a roof garden--private outdoor space that is extraordinarily rare in this city and that. has. saved. my. sanity. For so many people in this town, the walls have just closed in.)

I keep thinking about 19th century Buenos Aires; I'd read many times how when yellow fever hit, all the wealthy moved out of the stricken old center of town, while the poor had no option but to remain and, for many of them, to die. And now, 150 years later in New York, I'm living it.
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Altair

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Re: US politics and Coronavirus
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2020, 11:17:52 pm »
This. All of it.

Two things I need to add:

My fervent hope is that this crisis will *finally* bring nationalized health care to this country. That won't eliminate the gross economic disparities of living in the U.S., but it will at least give everyone a more equal chance at living at all.

And Donald Trump, as always without the slightest shred of evidence, has put forth in the midst of this crisis in a wounded city that personal protective equipment and ventilators are "walking out the back door" of hospitals. He is an unmitigated piece of shit.
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Eastling

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Re: US politics and Coronavirus
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2020, 11:23:49 pm »
Plus, thanks to the Idiot-in-Chief, racism continues to increase, especially against people of Asian decent. Because people are often both stupid and evil.

Not to mention:

  • Over fifty thousand people, mostly Latin Americans, are currently being detained in cramped, frequently inhumane conditions by ICE
  • Almost two and a half million people are currently in prison in the United States, many in inhumane and cramped conditions, and the majority of them Black (and otherwise nonwhite)
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Re: US politics and Coronavirus
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2020, 08:13:37 am »
I keep thinking about 19th century Buenos Aires

Your post made me think of my visit to the tenements museum there in NYC when I vacationed there (almost a couple of decades ago now).  Those were some cramped and awful conditions that don't bear thinking about, especially when you introduce the element of an illness like this one.

My friend, who's an even huger cynic than even me, for a long time believed that the only reason countries were barring international travel earlier on in the coronavirus outbreak was because of governmental institutional racism, and that it played into their narrative that "foreigners are the cause of all our problems" (i.e. the likes of Trump and our Tory government here).  I'm not sure whether she's revised that view now, in view of the scale of the pandemic and the virulence of this particular virus.


(Is huger a word?  If not I want to invent it for my own purposes, here, anyways.)
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Re: US politics and Coronavirus
« Reply #6 on: March 31, 2020, 08:22:06 am »


(Snip)

Aster, did you happen to see a PM that I sent you?  I know you're a Tapatalk user, and I don't know how messages display on there, so I thought I'd let you know it was there waiting for you.  Nothing urgent, though.
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Re: US politics and Coronavirus
« Reply #7 on: April 13, 2020, 11:56:41 pm »
  • Over fifty thousand people, mostly Latin Americans, are currently being detained in cramped, frequently inhumane conditions by ICE

Oh my goodness. All of the posts about this on my social media timelines and the news articles about this have dried up since the virus and these people have been forgotten. I'm ashamed to say even I had forgotten about them. Our federal government refuses to take care of its own citizens right now; I can only imagine what these people are going through. It was inhumane to begin with.

If nothing else, perhaps a silver lining to all this will see the fall of some of this corruption that has plagued our federal government (and some states; outside of Cooper, looking at my home state NC, with the worst unemployment benefits in the entire country - which is being felt by so many now, including myself); unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be playing out that way, and only the poor and already disadvantaged seem to only be becoming poorer and more disadvantaged. 

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Re: US politics and Coronavirus
« Reply #8 on: April 14, 2020, 07:03:01 pm »
unfortunately, it doesn't seem to be playing out that way,

Instead, they're trying to screw over the Post Office. Again. For some reason.

Altair

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Re: US politics and Coronavirus
« Reply #9 on: June 17, 2020, 06:23:01 am »
A sudden question struck me ( bear in mind I'm somewhat isolated from US politics ).

Has the Coronavirus pandemic slowed the recent hardship and prejudice in the US?

Resurrecting this thread because of an epiphany I had on the subject as a result of further developments on this matter.

The epiphany: Contagion is the catalyst of social justice.

The unexpected traction of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the death of George Floyd I think can be attributed largely to the COVID lockdown.

After all, we black folk have long lamented how one of us, unarmed and innocent, dies at the hands of police...we take to the streets, white folks wring their hands, politicians make pious speeches...things settle down, nothing changes...and REPEAT--a year or two later the same thing happens, and keeps happening, over and over. Yet this time, BLM has gone from suspect leftist movement to embraced by corporate America, and real reforms have been adopted in jurisdictions across the U.S. It's naive to think there'll be a complete eradication of the deep-seated racial bias, centuries old, from which this disparate policing springs; but I dare to hope that at least a slight shift in white people's awareness of that bias might actually be occurring.

So what's different this time, to push things to a tipping point? COVID.

--Racial disparities were already on full display thanks to COVID: rich (white) folks fled epicenters like NYC for second homes, while poor (black and brown) folks were left behind to suffer...black and brown folks were highlighted as disproportionately the folks on the frontlines as essential workers, as the folks without health care, as those already suffering health disparities, and as those dying in droves. In terms of awareness of racial injustice, the pump was primed, as it were, so that when blatant police violence aimed at black people piled up on top of that, the outrage came pouring forth

--The lockdown meant many people were suddenly jobless and without the usual social distractions; they had time on their hands and focus on the issues. People were already feeling cooped up and frustrated. Especially young folks had time the energy to pour into the streets in protest.

Moreover, we saw a similar acceleration of social change in the '80s and '90s when the AIDS crisis was at its height: LGBTQ rights were on a ploddingly slow trajectory, and media portrayals of us were as the twisted deviants on TV movies of the week...when suddenly your brother or son or father was dying of AIDS, and folks in the closet weren't being silent anymore, revealing that we weren't deviants but everyday people. And our efforts to pull together as a queer community in the face of the plague highlighted our humanity. It accelerated the acceptance of gay people, and our rights, enormously.

That's my thinking right now, anyway. Thoughts?
The first song sets the wheel in motion / The second is a song of love / The third song tells of Her devotion / The fourth cries joy from the sky above
The fifth song binds our fate to silence / and bids us live each moment well / The sixth unleashes rage and violence / The seventh song has truth to tell
The last song echoes through the ages / to ask its question all night long / And close the circle on these pages / These, the metamythos songs

Eastling

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Re: US politics and Coronavirus
« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2020, 11:25:00 am »
That's my thinking right now, anyway. Thoughts?

I would contest the idea that it was sympathy for the dying that pushed gay rights forward during the AIDS crisis. Activists at the time were genuinely worried that AIDS would be the end of gay rights and gay men in general, and they weren't wrong that a lot of people reacted with hatred and paranoia. The reason gay rights advanced in the wake of the crisis wasn't straight people feeling bad for us or admiring our solidarity--it was queer activists redoubling their efforts to fight.

I don't disagree with you that contagion can be a catalyst for social change. Your observations about BLM seem to be right on the money: BIPOC were especially furious about the way COVID-19 sickens and kills them disproportionately in this white supremacist society, and also, just about everyone interested in fighting for justice suddenly had the time to do so without the forty-hour work week (an invention designed to suppress anti-capitalist rebellion, not to increase productivity, which it doesn't do anyway) keeping them down. And the AIDS crisis was a turning point for the LGBTQ+ community, which we took and ran with in the end.

But it's not automatic. Contagion is an opportunity for social change amidst all the death and suffering, but we have to seize that opportunity and keep fighting.
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Eastling

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Re: US politics and Coronavirus
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2020, 11:52:49 pm »
the forty-hour work week (an invention designed to suppress anti-capitalist rebellion, not to increase productivity, which it doesn't do anyway)

A quick errata here, after some discussion with Sunflower.

I was being careless with my comment about the forty-hour work week--the number of forty in particular is actually something the labor movement fought damn hard for. What I meant to say was that the way capitalism requires us to sacrifice almost a third of our lives or more to "work" is not designed to increase productivity but to keep us in chains.
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