Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Living in Uncertain Times

I know that no one can see the future.  I know that life throws curve balls at odd times at, basically, everyone.  But there is the normal uncertainty that we live with everyday, and have lived with everyday.  And then there is now.

The uncertainty about tomorrow, next week, next month.... is so much greater partly because that uncertainty is being forced into our conscious thoughts, but mostly because no one with an ounce of common sense really knows what will happen by the time the pandemic ends.  The only certainty is that the American landscape will be different, probably vastly different, from what it is now.

Most Americans will have less money, less stability in their lives, and more loans.  The wealthy will still be wealthy, but the not-wealthy will be much, much poorer.  The economy will have gone through turbulence, with even more fluctuating stock markets, small businesses closing, in-person businesses losing money, and even online businesses having problems because people won't have money to spend.  Our current economy is based on the ability of the masses to buy stuff - what will happen when the masses can't buy stuff?  Or won't buy stuff to save money?

Economic instability tends to lead to social instability.  Social unrest and riots are not that far away, and the worst in terms of the pandemic hasn't hit yet.  What happens when hundreds of thousands of people lose a loved one because the government didn't handle the situation correctly, and the people died needlessly?  What would you do if someone you love died for a lack of hospital beds and essential supplies (i.e. ventilators and respirators)?  What would you do if you are not allowed to work and have no money to buy food?  Or diapers for your baby?  These types of situations bring about discord the likes of which we haven't seen yet, with consequences that will be recorded in history books.

As for politics, well, my ability to even has been compromised.  Two different representatives used insider knowledge to sell their stocks before the first big downturn, while lying to the public about the situation.  Our current president used two weeks to call the pandemic a "Democratic hoax" before even acknowledging that this is a real problem.  Even now, he doesn't seem to understand the scope of the pandemic.  Local officials are trying to do what's right, but have to fight against the lies spread by Washington officials that "this will blow over".  And this is an election year.  I fear for what this will do to the presidential election this fall.

At the moment, it feels like the entire country is holding its breath, waiting for the other shoe to fall.  I fear that the WHO director was correct to say that the US will be the next big epicenter for COVID-19, and that the falling shoe will be the deaths of 2.2 million people.  But no matter what, America will never be the same again.

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