Returning to Normal?

People talk about wanting to get back to normal but going about business as normal is part of what got us to this point. We delayed the proper response in order to keep our economy going normally and now we’re paying the price.

Already we’re getting pressure from our government to get back to normal, to prevent the cure from being worse than the disease, to get money flowing back to the wealthy as soon as we can so that the wealthy can then distribute morsels out to the rest of us.

But I’m not sure normal is where we want to go. Obviously we want to feel less stressed; we want to live without the kind of fear we’re currently experiencing. And those of us who are ill want to feel better. However, the desire to return to normal shouldn’t lead us to try to return to the society we had a year ago.

We now have the opportunity to create a new order. Instead of tying health insurance to employment, which has led to millions losing their health insurance along with their jobs, we ought to create a single-payer system like Medicare for all.

Instead of returning to offices with thousands of workers gathered together, we ought to do more working from home. Instead of massive facilities (like food production), we should build smaller factories run by more companies. Conglomerates are not the best answer for anything except the wealth of those at the top.

Taxes have to be raised to pay for all the stimulus actions we’re taking now. But you know the wealthy are going to resist, instead insisting that we cut benefits like Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid in order to balance the budget.

Returning to the hustle and bustle of the past isn’t a solution to anything except the quick buck. Flying ought to be rare. Buying SUVs and pickups ought to be rarer; we don’t need these massive vehicles for 90 percent of our travel. We just want them.

Sporting events provide a welcome respite from the stressors of our lives, but do we really need these humongous stadiums? Do we need to be paying athletes (and more importantly, owners) millions of dollars? Painters and sculptors and writers also provide respite from the challenges we face daily and they work for far less money, usually, than athletes.

Yes, let’s beat this virus and find a path to some semblance of normalcy, but let’s not waste this chance to change our society for the better. Let’s not go back. Let’s go forward.

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