COVID-19 is hitting the nation in full force. Companies are canceling their conferences. Faith communities are canceling worship services. Politicians are canceling rallies. For those who can, many are staying home in a self-quarantine made possible largely because we live in the age of the internet. Many of us can work from home.
But many of us can’t.
Like all major disasters, the poor are the ones victimized the most. People working jobs that require them to show up to be paid face a future without income. Most are working paycheck to paycheck. They are being told to stock up on food and prescription drugs that they can’t afford. Many don’t have health insurance and can’t afford to get tested. Some are homeless and can’t self-quarantine.
These people face a desperate choice: risk getting and spreading the virus and losing their job, being unable to pay rent, and struggling to feed themselves and their kids.
I understand that many people – some of you – debate how we can afford to grant universal health care or living wages? But I find myself wondering: how can we not? The cost of not providing for people’s basic needs far out-weighs the cost of providing them. Whether you want to admit it or not, we are all in this together. We are each others’ keepers.
We have the power, the wealth, the abundance to address many of society’s problems — but it will take a focus on people over profits. We need a cultural imagination that values ending poverty, sexism, racism, militarism, ecological devastation and the distorted moral narrative that ties all of these systems together.
I ask you to consider how we might use this moment to awaken as a nation and as a people. COVID-19 is an opportunity for our evolution toward a grand vision for a shared common good.
Prayer for the Week
May your healing power flow
into a world consumed by fear
We ask your presence with us and within us,
Now and forever.