I’m sitting inside again, watching what’s left of the world go by and absorbing far too much news for my already-frazzled nerves, and I have so many questions that I can’t answer. When will all this finally end? When will we all go back to normal?
Will there even be a normal left to go back to?
Are we irrevocably changed?
I saw so many people out and about when I was taking the car out to keep the battery from dying that I have to wonder: is the social distancing we’re doing enough? Who are all these people parked in the parking lots of stores and driving on the streets? Do they have to be there? What will happen to them?
The governor is now saying that Hartford County, where I live, may not peak until May; can we hold out until then? I may be safe indoors, for now, but what about everyone who doesn’t have that luxury?
What will happen to the poor?
I can’t help but think of all the students I know from my job as a college librarian, so many of whom are just scraping by and trying to reach a better life for themselves and their children; how in the world are they going to survive this? Where will they find work? What about food? Why is it that we have mortgage relief for homeowners in Connecticut, but we don’t have rent freezes?
Why would anyone think a single $1,200 stimulus check would ever be enough?
How many more people will lose their jobs? God, what is this place going to look like when so many are thrown out of work? We’d just barely recovered from the last recession, how can we possibly survive another? I’m grateful for new unemployment benefits included in the federal stimulus bill, but how long will that money last?
If we could afford huge tax breaks for millionaires, why can’t we pay a living wage for everyone in the United States who needs it to stay home and take care of themselves and their families?
If we could afford to spend trillions on endless, pointless wars for the past two decades, why is universal health care considered too expensive? Why can’t we have here what other countries have enjoyed for so long? Why does our government think we’re not worth the money?
I’m grateful President Trump backed off of his idea of “re-opening” the country by Easter, but why is he still entertaining ideas of trying to lift stay-at-home orders before this pandemic is over? Is the economy really more important than our health? Are we really supposed to get sick and die so our cruel and criminally unequal economic system can sputter back to life?
Why is the economy more important than our lives?
Speaking of Trump and the federal government, where have they been? Why isn’t FEMA in every city and town, assisting with emergency hospital construction and making sure all the resources of the federal government get to those who need them?
Why are states involved in bidding wars for PPE and ventilators? Why is the federal government outbidding states? What happened to the three million masks Massachusetts ordered that were seized at the Port of New York back in March? Did the federal government take them? Did New York? Did someone else? Why is this happening?
And why should state governors be forced to rely on private businesses and the Chinese government instead of their own leaders to get masks?
Didn’t we have a federal stockpile to deal with situations like this? Why is Jared Kushner, of all people, standing up before microphones and cameras and saying the stockpile is “our” stockpile? “Not supposed to be the states’ stockpile that they then use.” What does that mean?
Why has the federal government broken faith with the states? Is the compact undone? Is the Union going to survive this?
Is the stockpile really empty?
If so, what about reports that Americans have been hijacking shipments of masks intended for other countries? Is this the U.S. government? If so, where are these masks going?
What is wrong with our leaders?
What is wrong with our country?
Will we ever be able to fix it?
I wish I knew.
Susan Bigelow is an award-winning columnist and the founder of CTLocalPolitics. She lives in Enfield with her wife and their cats.
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