Staying Alive in “Do It Yourself” (DIY) America

Fake or mainstream, “the truth will set us free.” 

America’s White House, “the People’s House,” benefitting from “daily temperature checks, daily tests, unlimited hand sanitizers and regular deep cleaning of all workspaces,” still gets jacked at highest staff levels by coronavirus. So much so that Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the federal government’s most respected infectious diseases official, is working from home to try and keep himself alive so as to protect others.  

DIY means you’re on your own. That’s how it works outside the White House walls where 30% are frontline essential workers (Robert Reich’s catalogue of “nurses, homecare and childcare workers, farm workers, food processors, truck drivers, warehouse and transit workers, drugstore employees, sanitation workers, police officers, firefighters, and the military”) who still don’t have guaranteed access to compliant Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). With unemployment surging past 15% and 33 million jobless, a “war-footing” Administration joined by 26 compliant Governors to reopen their states incite their Americans to go back to work.  

Melinda Gates representing the foundation bearing her name recently told reporters that this country with “50 different homegrown state solutions” has failed on testing and contact tracing to contain the diseases’ spread. Dr. Fauci in his public appearances now wears a mask in solidarity with those wanting to protect others since even N-95 quality face covering does not prevent anyone from contagion.

COVID-19 accelerates how and why the richest Americans live 10-15 years longer than the poorest. Cheered on by partisan congressional enablers holding on to power, shareholder primacy investor classes and captive think tank networks doubling down on portfolio gains, prosperity gospel pharisees and Murdoch media outlets never missing a chance to subvert and invert both gospel and democracy; America is now as unequal in death as in life.  

Wealthy, entitled chicken hawks prey on their domestic fowl encouraging contagion roadkill. Appointed and elected public servants spill other people’s blood while not practicing what they preach. Primetime spinning about winning encourages “true believer” lemmings  to protest-stampede over the coronavirus cliff in an ironic, dystopic Darwinist reversal threatening any 2020 national census pre-conclusions.  

Side queries: will future gerrymandering be kinder to those who social distanced? Does COVID-19 engender pandemic-Calvinism by economically predestining precariat, paycheck dependent wage slaves from the git-go to serve “inherited-meritless” sheltering in gated community place?   

Workers for whom the COVID-19 “your job or your life” bell tolls involuntarily mostly do not have a voice or a vote to resist unless unionized. Front-liners for whom “social distancing” is already redlined step up to bat with no decent contract, level playing field or resilient protection. Those for whom an uncontrolled pandemic mainlines already lethally embedded inequality smack into exposed overwrought lungs, vanish even more invisibly when dying alone.  

Eschewing empathy, the President opines that “some will die for the economy, but you are warriors.” Existential questions come to mind starting with who gets to die for whose economy? The one where “the U.S. holds the highest level of income inequality among its post-industrialized peers?” In a country where one tenth of 1% owns more wealth than the bottom 90%, what percentage of that is worth a life? Is there a profitable Wall Street trade we can use as reference? Following the principle of “shared risks equaling shared rewards,” shouldn’t those with the largest shares be first in line to sacrifice their lives to lower risk in their rewarding investment portfolios? Does this “you are warriors dying for the economy” exhortation represent Commander-in-Chief leadership by example or leadership from behind the stacking piles of “those we can afford to lose” dead bodies who are not ring-fenced by “daily temperature checks, daily tests, unlimited hand sanitizers and regular deep cleaning of all workspaces?”

Considering the President’s “call to arms:” is this a precursor to a reinstated selective service draft where, like Vietnam, those at the economic class bottom receiving a low call-up number increase their odds of getting killed first? Do foot bone spurs and college enrollment still qualify as precondition deferments? Is a successful Economic Warrior one who lives for the cause or dies for it? Will future White House Rose Garden ceremonies envision posthumously awarding the medal of honor for conspicuous and distinguished “gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty” by returning to work when told to do so in the time of coronavirus? Are there official pardons in store for those who endanger others by deliberately contaminating them against their will?  

In this Administration’s evangelical “amen corner,” do only those who die for the economy qualify to be christened warriors? Will their children and their children’s children receive full scholarships to a Falwellian “Give me Liberty or Give me Death” University? Could daily White House minaret press briefing calls to arms for the faithful become America’s version of a holy economic-electoral campaign jihad? Do those who die or who infect others by protesting in public places without PPE, whether intentional or delusional, become anointed religious martyrs and will their families receive special posthumous recognition and dispensations?  

Americans are dying to know before they have to breathe again.

-Michael A. Peck-