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Think about Covid-19 as an alien army that has invaded the planet (it might as well be from outer space) and each nation decides how to repel that invasion as best they can, using the resources at their disposal. They often use new weapons that science and the health providers have been developing, as well as the strategies that have been proven to be effective again similar attacks in the past. For thousands of people in those populations, such decisions make the difference between life and death. Besides those who die in this invasion, there are even larger numbers who are casualties, requiring medical resources and hospital time. The goal of the national leaders is about how to save as many lives as possible and to limit the casualties. Eventually the goal is to irradicate the invading virus or to make its continuing stay very difficult.
There are, unfortunately, some nations whose leaders do not take the invasion seriously. They tend to see it as a natural phenomenon requiring little attention. Their general approach is to allow the invasion to continue, pretty much unabated, willingly accepting the deaths and casualties as long as they are in the more powerless classes. They may even see it as a positive occurrence; a kind of survival of the fittest. It is like culling the herd to get rid of the weak and unimportant.
These nations allow the virus invasion to be something to embrace and to allow it to establish itself as an occupying army. To operate in this fashion, they see the invasion of the alien virus as something to accept and form a society around; much like Vichy France after the Germans overran France and occupied it, setting up their own government. Those who accepted this arrangement were collaborators, willing to allow the society, especially the weakest and most vulnerable, to pay the price for that occupation with what were seen as acceptable deaths, oppressive restrictions and a change in the national character.
Some of our present leaders see this as an opportunity to express their absolute power over their citizens who, for a variety of reasons, have no option but to follow the dictates of their leaders. Some leaders may even be under the illusion that their vision and their will can force reality to conform with their wishes: a kind of magical thinking.
Here in this nation, the course the President has chosen is to allow the virus to have its way with the citizens. His priority seems to be to salvage the old economy and Wall Street by infusing the corporate world and the wealthiest citizens with stimulus funds. His solution for the ordinary citizens is that they must return to jobs in order to receive any benefits from stimulus money. The other element of this "return to work" push, is to insist that schools open so parents will be free to work. This is clearly an "economics is a higher priority than people's health" strategy. There is money to be made and, by God, we will support anything that makes money. That is what capitalism is all about, isn't it?
So, the result is that the most vulnerable are required to face the full force of the viral occupation, taking their chances with their own health and that of their families and communities with little support or resources. They will be sacrificed on the altar of capitalism. This somehow seems right and appropriate to the President and those who profit most from such a strategy. Others who find a way of supporting such a strategy see it as a way to get rid of those they see as undesirable or unnecessary: those of different races or skin color or religion or ethnicity, immigrants and foreigners, liberals, the old, the weak and the helpless, as this clearly feeds into the frustration, bigotry and racism of a sector of our population.
The reality, however, is that such a strategy is unsustainable. Other nations will simply isolate us as a pariah. Those who are so willingly sacrificed will rebel. Without some solution to the spread of this virus and other viruses which will follow, we will remain a vulnerable species, finally weakened and overcome.
We are still faced with the entire business of transitioning into a society that is willing to deal with the troubling environmental challenges. Considering this, we can ill afford to simply allow an invading virus to set up shop as an occupying army. And we certainly cannot allow the sacrifice of a large part of our society in the pursuit of wealth.
Finally, we will need to insist that human life matters and that any policies that are not based on that ultimate truth will only lead us into a dystopian future and eventually into the demise of the human race.