Coronavirus Stimulus Package - for the Wealthy not the Healthy
In the wake of COVID-19 it’s fascinating to see human behaviour, especially in a capitalist society. It seems often that greed knows no bounds and that personal preservation is what counts the most.
And then, humanity seems to kick-in, in it’s purest most compassionate form. We went from hoarding toilet paper and canned foods to singing to each other from our balconies and giving the elderly and people with disabilities allocated time to shop. We went from fear induced hand sanitising to re-educating each other on what community can really look and feel like.
We have started to give the earth a small window of time to regenerate itself because we have gone inside to hide from ourselves. This virus of the wealthy that will surely kill the poor.
In this digital age where we aim so deeply to connect yet find ourselves entrenched in our devices not in conversation… maybe this is the sign or the wakeup call we all need to change our behaviour and to look into each others eyes again to truly engage in meaningful connections.
How do we truly and actively show up for each other in times where we feel fear? I’ve had to do some real self-reflection during this season. When COVID-19 hit the streets, I felt no fear, I felt pretty smug and like it wasn’t going to be a big deal. I even caught myself saying things like well it only affects the immune-comprised and the elderly so myself and my family are okay.
Later, I reflected what a privileged position I sit in to have that kind of opinion, and such an inflated sense of self. Here I am, sitting in India, surrounded by people who could be so deeply affected by this virus, if one person within a small community gets infected it could truly kill everyone in that community.
And here I am, sitting on my white privileged pedestal thinking I won’t be affected. Here I am laughing at those hoarding toilet paper when what I should be feeling and doing is practicing compassion and understanding that fear is a major human driver. I feel fear too, but now it’s for the people who won’t survive this, my ignorance meant that my fear appeared later and my privilege means I still feel a sense of relief that even if I or my family contracts this, we have the means to live.
Our society is setup in a way that means the wealthier, whiter and more privileged you are, the easier access you have to the resources to overcome this. This is the harsh reality we face and we need to address ourselves. It’s not time for words, it’s really time for action.
- What will we do to help the elderly in Australia, other than set some nice shopping hours?
- What will we do to support people with disabilities?
- What will we do to support our Indigenous communities living in rural and remote areas who don’t have access to health care? Or don’t get access to food due to supply chain pressures from metro customers buying up so much.
- What will we do to support any immune-comprised people like heart kids, people with diabetes, people with asthma, people who have cancer or any other disease they are currently fighting?
What will the ironic naming of the Coronavirus Stimulus Package (come on Scomo, I thought you were a marketer) mean for the compromised individual who truly needs help? Why has the focus been on stimulating the economy and not support the humans that live within it?
All the headlines and the deep focus has been on the economy and the impact that the $17.6 billion will have on stopping a recession from happening. I feel like we’re burying our heads in the sand by talking about a recession, what about supporting the doctors who are asking for more health care funding for the people who really need it? The economy is only as good as the true health of the individuals in it.
So why aren’t we talking about the human impacts and affects more deeply? That $750.00 payout, is disguised as relief for people on Newstart or pensions but is really a relief for the highly wealthy who will likely see a cash injection into their businesses during this expected downturn.
It's not about giving to people who need it most, it's about boosting the economy with the "front loader" mind frame. The people on the front lines, most likely to be affected, can now spend money they didn't have previously but have truly always needed just for basic survival.
Again, @Scott Morrison flails in the wake of a disaster focusing attention on the wrong things. The wealthy and not the healthy.
Where is our humanity?
We might not be able to control what the government decides to provide but the one thing we can control is ourselves. So here are some ideas on how to be a positive light in this time:
- Help your grandparents and their friends out by bringing them things they might need. Or help them navigate the digital world so they can place orders for things that can be delivered to them. Call in, if you can't visit but just show that you care.
- Check in on friends that have immune-compromised bodies. Send a message, ask how you can possibly help and just ask if they're okay.
- Give some food or warmth to the person living rough in the streets of Australia. What happens if they get sick? Help by giving fresh food, water and a jumper.
- Donate to small non-profits or buy from social enterprise businesses who use their power for good and often employ people who could be more deeply affected by this virus. Even if you can donate $5, it could be enough to keep an artisan employed for a day, if we all collectively donate together.
- If you're at home and self-isolating or battling sickness, connect with online communities so that while isolated, you still feel connected.
- Learn a new language while you're at home. If you can't work from home but you have to be at home, learn something new! Get those brain juices flowing! Learning a new language can really help keep you engaged in life and learn something new about a different culture.
- Read a book! I've recently read The Choice by Edith Eger about her survival of Auschwitz, her resilience and her ability to survive through her deep connection to her sister and hope.
- If you're at home with family, play some games. Learn a new game, play scrabble, play monopoly, just play. Reconnect.
Let's help each other, let's be compassionate, let's be self-reflective and call each other out on our shit, let's give each other hope and let's allow this time to kickstart our behaviour in new positive direction for personal growth that enables collective growth.