Came across this video on twitter today of a desperate small business owner in California being forced to shut down her outdoor dining area while, some 50 feet away, a film/t.v. crew sets up their own outdoor dining area in advance of a production –
Watch this video, folks. Sound on. pic.twitter.com/Oo6LMdmE1p
— Klavan Squarebeard, first of his name (@SpencerKlavan) December 4, 2020
There has been a massive failure of leadership across the political spectrum. I look at it as a sliding scale. On the one end, you have the most egregious: the Republican party that has chosen to address the pandemic by largely ignoring it and/or actively undermining efforts to curb the virus. There are the Democratic leaders at the state level who have enacted policies and safety measures in an unequal, often illogical (Sending those Covid-positive patients into nursing homes where the most vulnerable reside) manner. There are the Western governments that have generally been slow to act, choosing optics over the health of their citizens in refusing to enact travel restrictions and then lying about the effectiveness of masks so as to dissuade the general public from purchasing N95’s thereby ensuring enough of a supply for medical professionals – all because our leaders failed to act quickly at the first signs of trouble. There are the governments of China and Russia that apparently have the virus “under control” by, let’s face it, having their people “under control”. And then there are the outliers – the New Zealands and Taiwans, Japans and South Koreas – countries that took immediate, decisive action. Countries whose citizens came together to fight the virus and keep each other safe, championing the common good over the egocentrism that compels people to complain about masks or pack into third rate barbecue joints.
“We’re all in this together” is a phrase I’ve been hearing a lot over the past few months, usually from politicians imploring us to lockdown and not travel while they dine maskless or vacation in Cabo. But the phrase clearly has varying applications. “We’re all in this together” does not mean, for instance, that “all” receive equal government support. In the U.S., the top 1% have done very well in this pandemic, the stock market and their zombie companies propped up by the Fed while small business owners and regular folks receive a comparable pittance or, in many cases, do without.
Which brings us back to the small business owner in the above video. Why is it that the same rules don’t apply to everyone? We’re all in this together after all. It’s a question I asked a friend of mine who is a working line producer. “It’s different,”he explained, “because productions are very careful and test three times a week.” This, of course, begs the question: “Why isn’t everyone being tested three times a week?” The obvious answer is: “Because there aren’t enough tests.” Which is why medical professionals are only tested once a week. Let that sink in. The individuals risking their lives on the front lines of this pandemic are tested once a week while, back in June, the NBA was testing players and staff daily.
So what’s the answer? Ideally, a fast-acting and effective vaccine. But while we’re waiting, how about some support, both emotional and financial, for those in need? How about honesty and consistency in both messaging and policy on the part of our leadership? How about a little science-based common sense, selflessness, and general empathy on the part of people in general? Small sacrifices in the face of a looming crisis. Because if things keep going the way they are, this virus will be just the half of it.