I dare you to listen to these voices describing the new reality of our lives today and deny that some of our elected officials have lost their moral compass entirely.
“Grandparents are willing to sacrifice their lives to save the U.S. economy,” said one lieutenant
“We may need to lift restrictions sooner as opposed to later. We can’t survive the economic crash if we don’t,” said a prominent governor. “We are going to need to get the US back to work. The US wasn’t made to shut down,” said one president.
All these thoughts were publicized to a worldwide audience within one 24-hour period, causing my mind to think of two very dark periods in this nation’s and the world’s history. The first thought was an image in my mind — an image of people being put on trains, transported to so-called “work camps,” and being gassed to death, one after the other, in a long, long line.
I then thought of an absolutely chilling scene in “Life is Beautiful” where guests at a fancy banquet in Italy are talking, during WWII, about the value of the life of a disabled person. One mother described a math problem created by a teacher for her students. In that problem, a monetary value was given to keeping a disabled person alive. The word problem then asked students to multiply that value by the number of disabled people and thus determine how much money the country would save if all the disabled were gone.
Lastly, I thought back to a class I taught about civil rights and discrimination against African-Americans.
One of my students said that, perhaps at some time, African-Americans would realize that the “small sacrifice” they made to build the economy of the United States was “worth it.”
So tell me. How much is a senior citizen’s life worth? How much is a grandparent’s life worth?
Who in the world are you, Mr. Lieutenant Governor, to speak for all seniors or all grandparents?
How much is a younger person’s life worth? Who are you, Mr. Governor, to make that judgment and ask that person to go back to work?
What kind of flawed “cost-benefit” analysis is this?
The nation and the world face two nightmare scenarios at once — a pandemic that may cost millions of lives and an economic depression worse than we have ever seen. Some of us want to believe that out of these horrors, perhaps there will come peace.
It sure as hell isn’t going to come from this country’s leaders continuing to make choices that sacrifice the lives of some groups of people over the lives of others or some nations over others.
We need a new paradigm — one that values the health, dignity, human rights and well-being of us all.
NJ Green Party Candidate for US Senate