Coronavirus. Covid-19. A global pandemic. North Carolina has been shut down for about 2 months as the novel coronavirus has spread, not only across the state, but the nation and the world. When I walked out of my classroom on March 16, I had NO IDEA that I wouldn’t see this class of students again except for on a Zoom or Google meeting. I also didn’t expect to see America’s slip showing for the past few months, But alas, it is.
Our president has blamed China, called the coronavirus a hoax by the media, and any other number of things to shift the blame from his lack of response to something or someone else. As I type this, I am watching the news and seeing him abruptly end a press conference, his first one in weeks, because he doesn’t want to answer the questions of the press (how that’s possible during a PRESS conference, I’ll never understand). He refuses to wear a mask, tweets that states should liberate themselves, all while exercising their 2nd amendment rights. (Mainly) White people have been showing up to state capital buildings brandishing guns in their protests to “reopen America”, without being thrown to the ground and arrested, without being shot and killed, while the killers of a Black man in Georgia roamed the streets freely for over two months before FINALLY being arrested.
What does this all mean? When I say America’s slip is showing, I mean that all of it’s injustices and inequities are on full display for everyone to see, and they can no longer be ignored. Most people are currently working from home or are, sadly, unemployed, and therefore have more time to bear witness to what is happening around them. So, while we are unfortunately in the midst of a global pandemic, we’ve all been forced to slow down in a huge way. We can no longer ignore that the “land of the free” isn’t truly free for most people. The fact that schools were worried about closing because they were more worried about children being fed than about staying on track academically, that some businesses couldn’t close for a whole month without needing to file bankruptcy, that people are protesting to be able to get haircuts because heaven help you look like your natural self on a video conference call…it all adds up to showing the inequities that are present in these “United” States of America.
By no means do I have all the answers; in fact, this has only brought up more questions for me. How can the government, of the people, by the people, and FOR THE PEOPLE, only be concerned with the needs and wants of the rich, of billion dollar corporations, of the 1%, while leaving the other 99% to fend for themselves? A $1200 stimulus check isn’t going to cut it. $600 in additional unemployment benefits won’t help when people can’t even get through the system to get approved for their benefits. Sending additional EBT benefits to families of students who receive free and reduced lunch is a great start, but won’t be useful when the food supply is cut short by the coronavirus ravaging food packaging plants and farms?
America, your slip is showing. Time to pull down your dress, put on your big girl pants, and fix this mess.