Greed in the Time of COVID-19

By Amie Hall

We believe that America is the greatest country in the world. We believe we are above reproach and lead the world morality with our unyielding faith. We run around the world, as if we are some police force, seemingly to free the masses from tyranny and strife. We believe we are the cream of the crop, paved streets of gold with opportunities for all who are lucky enough to be here. We act as if we are always looking out for those less fortunate than ourselves. But is this truly the case?

American idealism has shown its true form in recent months.

Back in May of 2017, our country did away with the Affordable Care Act. Healthcare for all isn’t good for big business. The claim is that Americans should be able to choose IF they are covered and with WHOM. Now that so many have fallen desperately ill from COVID-19, the economy is collapsing and we see that in order to save our country, we must take care of the health of those who live here. Therefore, testing and treatment for this disease has been done largely free of charge.

In June of 2017, our country pulled out of the Paris Climate Accords. Saving the environment isn’t good for big business. Instead, we debate the facts and deny the science of our negative impact on the climate. With so many countries on lockdown due to this pandemic, we can see that our arrogance is misguided. Without human interaction these last couple of months, smog has cleared from the skies of the most heavily populated areas.

Back in early March of this year, fears about the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States caused American greed to rear its ugly head. They bought toilet paper, diapers, wipes, and other supplies in such amounts that almost nothing was left for those that couldn’t get out to the stores fast enough. Hoarding became the theme of the day. Whether this was a product of our overall unpreparedness or our overwhelming selfishness makes no difference. We were not looking out for our fellow man. To stop this, stores have had to limit how much of certain items can be purchased at a time.

When Bernie Sanders was still in the running for the 2020 presidential election, there were those who cried out against his socialistic idealism. Yet, here they all sit, waiting on their stimulus checks from the government between visits to the food banks.

Beyond that, there are the deniers. Those that would put everyone else at risk for their own benefit and that of making money. They believe they are either immune to this disease, or that the pandemic is fake, and a ploy developed to make our president look bad. They are willing to prematurely reopen the country in order to save the economy. It is strange that we see ourselves as so great, while many are either so uneducated, or so gullible as to believe what they are told despite evidence to the contrary.

This self-centered idealism has proven to be a dangerous bedfellow causing a powder-keg effect.

Dr. Fauci has received several threats due to his desire to continue with social distancing guidelines. Rather than seeing him as someone who is looking out for the overall health and wellbeing of the country, he is viewed as a threat to personal freedom. This is why so many are ignoring his warnings. Some families are still shopping together, and many still had gatherings on Easter Sunday.

Meanwhile, states are not ready to reopen and resume the “business as usual” way of life just yet. They are looking to take a more cautious approach. However, the president has stated that his power of when to reopen and resume is absolute above that of the states. This way of thinking is causing division within our country, which is evident in the voices of those who have stated they will take up arms against their own governors if restrictions are not loosened soon.

As we look closely at our capitalistic way of life, it is becoming evident that money is the one true deity. While there are those who would disagree, the truth lies in putting the needs of economics above the health of the people. It is evident in our tribal idealisms of securing as much as we can for our own households rather than looking out for the rest of those that live in our neighborhoods.

If we cannot overcome our selfishness and greed, there are only two outcomes that seem likely:

We will either reopen too soon and see a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases that will result in a loss of life so high as to make stabilizing the economy moot because there won’t be enough healthy people left to work, or we will see ourselves drawn into a war on our own soil the likes of which will mirror the Civil War over a hundred years ago.

In the end, are either of those two outcomes worth the price?

Our way of life seems in need of drastic change. Honesty, integrity, education, and empathy should become the new norm. Otherwise, selfishness and greed will be our undoing.

Categories: Amie Hall

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