Surviving this pandemic needs three things. Any one alone is not sufficient, but all three together can get us through.
THE TEST: Without a test for a proper diagnosis, we will never know who is carrying the germ of infection. Once we can properly test, we can then quarantine those infected to both treat them and keep them from spreading the sickness.
THE SHELTER: Properly sheltering in place for a long enough time means the virus can’t find more hosts to spread its dangerous effects. For want of human bodies to enter to do its damage, it will die away.
THE VACCINE: Finding an effective antidote means closing the door to future infections. It’s a pre-emptive strike against invasion, an effective preventative health care.
Clear and simple, yes? Of course, for all sorts of political reasons and sometimes lack of understanding about just how life-threatening Covid-19 has proved to be, we missed many opportunities to stop its spread before it was too late. We’re still back-pedaling to try to catch up to effective control of its spread.
Now apply all of the above to the pandemic of purposefully-manufactured hate, ignorance, greed. The above cures all apply. Let’s look at how this could change our current crisis in leadership.
THE TEST: How do we know someone is qualified in their position of leadership? Simple: have them tested by a team of psychologists, poets, teachers, grandmothers and young children. The first would diagnose a clear case of psychopathological narcissism and compulsive lying, the second would note delusions of grandeur and a wounded soul, the third would talk about lack of critical thinking skills and inability to work well with others, the fourth would lay it out clearly that he’s a goddamn liar, macho pig and pathetic excuse for a human being and the fifth would say, “Mommy, get me away from this man! I don’t like him!!”
Once clearly diagnosed, he would naturally be quarantined for a long time so as to not infect others. (The proper place for the quarantine? Hint: NOT in the White House.)
THE SHELTER: Without massive rallies, Twitter accounts, FOX News and alt-right Talk Radio (the latter three most definitely need to be shut down for true sheltering), the virus of hate, distrust, cynicism, purposely manufactured false information designed to instill fear and protect privilege), would not find the necessary bodies to invade and would be left to die out. I predict a mere four weeks away from this constant barrage of vitriol would change things dramatically and heal the cultural and political sickness we’re experiencing.
THE VACCINE: It’s called education. Teaching children to truly think, to care, to act on behalf of the moral arc’s slow bend towards justice would inoculate them against the mass brainwashing referred to above. Likewise, being in a loving school community that welcomes them and celebrates them for their uniqueness and helps them claim their particular genius means cultivating future citizens who don’t have to base their identity on feeling (falsely) superior to others. Once we get through the triage of stopping the pandemic through testing and sheltering in place, this is the long term solution that can prevent its return.
If we have anything to learn from these trials and tribulations, I hope it’s the understanding the physical virus and the mental virus both have to be treated the same way if we are to survive and thrive. Let’s do it, people!