Tuesday, March 24, 2020

#atrisk and still worthy

#atrisk still worthy
This morning I saw a screenshot of a tweet by a person who said that we had to decide “whether we are going to tank the entire economy to save 2.5% of the population” and went on to say that this segment of the population was expensive to support and generally was non-productive.  I don’t want to share the screenshot of the tweet, because I’ll be sharing this on social media and I don’t want the photo preview of this post to be something that traumatizes people.  The name of the person however, I’ll share.  His name is Scott McMillan. 

I shortly after I saw a news headline that stated that the man in the White House wanted to “reopen America” because the economy is suffering. 

What?  Hey, wait! I am one of that 2.5%.  I have a lung condition that puts me at great risk should I become infected with this virus. My first response to this was to want to shout out that despite this condition I have a job, I’m a productive member of society.  I contribute to the economy dammit, why are you okay with me dying?

Then I stopped.  If I’d had a mirror in front of me, I’d have shot myself a look of disgust. 

I fell right into the trap. You want to try to tell me that a certain part of our population is not worth saving because they are not contributing economically and instead of noting how morally and ethically wrong this stance is, I immediately jump to trying to explain why I do contribute and thus shouldn’t be counted as a part of that group.

I make a conscious effort to remind myself that we are all in this together.  Ensure that the most vulnerable among us are fed, housed, educated, and given safety, ensures that we all are.  And every person is deserving of those things.  This belief is the foundation that my personal ethics are built upon.  No one person is above any other…

…but I still jumped at the chance to other the hell out of my fellow at risk folks, to show “them” why I am worthy of saving.  If I jump to this place so quickly, how in the world can I convince others that we all have a basic right to exist? 

I could pull out studies that show you why helping people actually is better for the economy in the long term.  I could find further studies about how cultures that support their elderly tend to socially thrive more than those that don’t. I could share other studies that show that societies that think collectively tend to weather crisis better. But the fact is that if you don’t believe that I, and others like me, have a basic right to keep breathing, no study or statistic is likely to convince you otherwise.  

This morning the only thing I could think to do is to put my face next to my risk status.  Maybe the only way to combat this is to make it personal.  Maybe the only way to do this is to put a face on it.  

“Hey…I’m your neighbor, your friend, your coworker, you spouse, your lover, your kid’s teacher, your bus driver, your accountant.  I am someone you know personally, and I have just as much right to survive as you do.” 

So here I am.  One of the 8-million or so people that people like McMillan and our president don’t deem worthy of surviving this pandemic.  If you want to put your face on this feel free.  I used the hashtag #atrisk but perhaps there are others that might be used #stillworthy #allinthistogether or others.  I used the following text on my Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram posts:

This is the face of someone deemed not worth saving.  I am a person with an underlying condition that puts me at greater risk of complications or death should I fall ill from the coronavirus. Today I read that the economy is more important than the more than 8-million people like me.   

I don’t know how to combat this viewpoint other than to make it personal, to put a face on it.  So here I am.

Are you one of the so called unworthy? Make it personal.  If you feel called to, I’m asking that you put your face out there.  Mark it with the hash tag #atrisk.  Flood social media with our faces – feel free to use any of the copy above.  #atrisk #alwaysworthy #covid19 #theleastofus #coronavirus #socialdistancing #healing #allinthistogether #worthy #faces #poverty #asthma #disability #elderly #ageism #ableism 

There is still so much work to be done.  I believe we will get through this.  I just hope we don’t do it at the expense of those we could have saved. 

Be well.
Take care of yourself.
Take care of one another.
Stay home as much as possible.
Be kind.
Let those you love know how you feel.
And of course, please wash your hands.

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