This morning, someone bumped an old post of mine, which reminded me what I’m all about. Several months ago, I posted a beautiful piece of writing by Zeynep Tufekci from Scientific American in some Weymouth and Hingham groups which urged people to go out and stock their pantries and prepare for a shutdown as much as possible. The idea was that if we who can prepare do, the shock of a crisis, should one develop, could be less severe.
In many ways, that advice came much too late. We should’ve had Medicare-for-All or something like a national health service generations ago. We should’ve committed ourselves to racial equity in the wake of the Civil War, and not let up. We should’ve not spent the last forty years electing government-is-bad, greed-is-good politicians who would always choose short-sighted, unserious, bandaid fixes over more challenging, more sustainable solutions.
I mean, we should’ve let Carter try to manage climate change. We should’ve let Clinton try to fix healthcare. We should’ve let Obama do literally anything. But now here we are, struggling to balance the real economic needs of individual people against the public health, trying to prevent our healthcare system from crumbling under the weight of a potential second wave of COVID-19 cases.
To me, the opportunity presented by the popular embrace of the Black Lives Matter movement is worth any personal risk I might face from the pandemic. I’m trying to be clean and safe, because I have a family and I can’t bear to make them worry about my health, but at the same time, I have to go out, because we have a moment, and it is critical that we take hold of it.
But I’m not struggling to put food on the table. For others, just being able to work is worth the risk, and this has gone on a long time already. The effects may well be devastating for generations, in ways we can see and ways most of us won’t see. Children will be behind in school. Credit card debts may be inescapable. When eviction moratoriums end, people will be in the streets. Layoffs for many mean worse work for less pay when businesses reopen.
But this is why I’m running. I’m running because I believe we can make better choices that better prepare us for future crises. And I believe we can make better choices right now to save as many lives as we can. We need cash payments from the federal and state governments to those who are currently out of work. We need to deal with the credit industry and ban usurious interest rates. We need to ensure that no one ever faces a choice between filling a prescription or visiting a doctor and paying the light bill. We need to make sure our government really is for the people.
It’s time. Government is how we take care of each other. Let’s get to work.