Caribbean News, Latin America News:
By Arthur Piccolo
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Fri. March 13, 2020: When can a deadly virus – a pandemic – also have wonderful results?
RIGHT NOW – maybe if we are brave and strong enough to do so in the midst of all these deaths, suffering, fear and disruption caused by COVID-19.
Bernie Sanders is not going to produce a “revolution” even if a miracle took place and he somehow won the nomination and became President but ….
COVID-19 is a very different story that can “infect” many of us with a passion for CHANGE and a far better future than what now awaits most of us.
Yes, priority number one is to control the deadly virus; yet even this is more than it seems to be if we open our minds to its wider implications. Effectively battling COVID-19 requires a level of global cooperation never seen before.
Yes, it is seen during wars, but in those cases it is never all humanity against a common enemy, but rather some humans fighting and killing others as is still taking place all around the world every day, even if there are not major wars.
Right now, be it still in very modest ways and incompletely, we all seem to have a common all important goal no matter who we are or where we are – against an invisible deadly enemy that does not care who or where we are.
The opportunity is if enough of us, not all of us, but enough of us, are able to see how this virus can likewise be a symbol of much more. Poverty, violence, oppression, abuse, discrimination, inequality can also be viewed as “inviable” enemies that can and often do strike anywhere, can horribly infect any of us and are viruses that have survived and “prospered” throughout human history.
We have learned to control these “diseases” to an extent, to an extent we have made progress over thousands of years of human existence in some places and at times better than in others, but we have not conquered poverty, violence, oppression, abuse discrimination, inequality or other diseases like them …
Which brings me back to COVID-19, which requires an effective vaccine if we are to more than just contain it. Scientists and nations working together must find a common “cure” for COVID-19 that works everywhere and for everyone, no matter age, gender, nationality, religion, or other circumstances.
We – meaning those working on this COVID-19 vaccine – are confident they will come up with an effective vaccine as they have for so many others in the past, but probably not for a year or even much longer. So until then, everyone’s cooperation is required for us to at least contain COVID-19.
So the wider question I am asking is if at the same time, many of us, if not all of us, can also find great positive value in this global struggle that can lead us to a better society and more than just curing COVID-19?
My point is that can ONLY happen if we think and act in these terms and discuss and act in new ways that go beyond just this virus itself and explore how it is effecting the 99% of us who have not been victims of COVID-19, and do more than just try to protect ourselves, our families, and those we associate with from becoming infected by this potentially deadly virus.
I do not see any of these loftier goals yet and they will be difficult to achieve because returning to the Status Quo is always easy and seductive when the immediate danger passes, and even more as is always the case, concentrated power and wealth are in control as we worship at the altar of the Status Quo.
Let me start to get very specific to make my point with current examples.
Because of all the disruption and loss of income to those who work in the cruise, airline and sports industries among others, the President and Congress are likely going to temporarily eliminate the so-called payroll tax.
We can do much more and use this opportunity to take a closer look at this tax and its “value.” No one is worried the government will collapse if the government eliminates this tax for the rest of 2020. Just the opposite. Its elimination will both bring some relief to those who need it most, while at the same time act as a useful stimulus to our economy in this troubled time.
So why not use this opportunity to eliminate forever the most regressive and misnamed “payroll” tax? It is nothing more or less than an income tax that impacts the 90% of Americans who are not wealthy.
The government has gotten away for generations with the nonsense that the payroll tax on individual’s salaries goes into a special fund (sic) to pay for Social Security benefits. There is no such account; it goes to the U.S. Treasury.
Everyone who works for a company as a salaried employee pays a 6.2% TAX on all their income taken out of pay checks, up to $137,000, and those making more pay no further payroll tax on their income. It is completely regressive.
We can make use of the COVID-19 crisis to eliminate this TAX once and for all and shift that burden onto those who can easily afford to pay it.
How about the medical care that the government will pay for anyone who is infected with COVID-19?. Why just COVID-19? Why don’t all Americans have the right to medical care? Let’s do that now because of COVID-19.
The real issue is many of the actions the government will FINALLY take because of COVID-19 to protect the American people and ensure our nation continues to function well for all of us, have much wider value.
Beyond individual issues like these and others, Congress and the President – both Democrats and Republicans – will begin cooperating because of COVID-19. It is the far broader and all-encompassing potential COVID-19 has to reshape our nation for the future and not just protect us against this one threat, but rather many threats all of which are enabled by the same group of “viruses” …..
Poverty, violence, oppression, abuse discrimination, inequality and others like them that are undermining our potential and destroying the still largely unrealized promise of America – a journey which Americans begun in 1776.
We can turn this medical crisis into the catalyst we need here in America, and as much around the world, to re-create ourselves and our nations far better, by facing the realities holding us back in the same way we must face COVID-19 – logically and imaginatively or we will not win that battle.
Human evolution has not stopped and certainly should not and must not. The kind of evolution we need now in the 21st century needs to be conscious. It will be found and developed in our minds and hearts and brains. In fact, it has always been that way throughout all of human history. While homo sapiens underwent tremendous physical changes, evolving from other species over millions of years, the human race undertook its greatest advances by what we have achieved with our intelligence. And it has not happened linearly or at a steady pace, but in creative bursts and breakthroughs that advanced us.
We can do it again right now and use COVID-19 as the “spark” that makes us rethink how and why we do so much of what we do as a society and as individuals; and we do we can do so much more than cure COVID-19.
Concentrate on the very subtle, even easy to ignore ways this pandemic, which is vaguely making us all feel more united with others in common purpose and let us bring those ideas and feelings to the forefront from now and forever!
We can make major advances here and now if we chose to do so!
(This series dedicated in honor of the late Liu Xiaobo & Jamal Khashoggi)