By Jimmy Young
Bill Gates is a pretty smart guy. No one on Earth can argue that. Not only has his digital vision of the future earned him the right to be the world’s richest man on Earth, his prediction in 2015 of a crippling virus pandemic has come true!
24 million people have watched this over the past 5 years!
28 days into my own social distancing and quarantine, it’s time to take a time out for the entire human race. I’m finally realizing that when my parents used to preach…if you have your health… you have it all! They really did know what they were talking about! Not that I would ever believe them, after all I was a kid, who knew it all at any age!!!
Now that I am old enough to be “at risk” during this first ever pandemic of my lifetime of 62.5 years, I’ve had a chance to check in on my own mortality. I am starting to wonder if that door I just opened to a public bathroom had a trace of the coronavirus germ that will be the beginning of the end of my wonderful life. If it is, I will die a happy man. However, I wonder what kind of world will I be leaving behind? My only son is a grown man with a vocation that will serve him well for the rest of his life, but has my generation really made the world a better place for him and his peers?
My parents from the “greatest generation” sacrificed many of their pleasures in order to give me a better life than they enjoyed. What has my entitled, spoiled, and lazy generation done? We have poisoned our air, earth, and oceans in the cause of “progress” and “profit” but at what cost to our own humanity?
We have never had as large a division of haves and have-nots, based on social, economic, and racial lines in history. Watch the commercial messaging that continues during this crisis, you have the auto companies, the essential services of food and communication companies preaching that we are all in this together! Pay it forward! This too will pass! However, just in case in you have high blood pressure? Take this Diuretic? Migraines? Take a Triptan. Axiety? Vicodin . Acid Reflux? A Statin. Western medicine and big Pharma has conditioned us to treat the symptom rather than fix the cause. We have more violence, emotional hatred, and greed than at any other time in my life. Our great political system reflects the divisions between us, and is as dysfunctional and impotent as it’s misguided leaders.
I have always believed that we come from one family of humanity with similar challenges in our journey in life, no matter what our religious, socio-economic or racial differences are. So why am I so mad that this virus is attacking a larger percentage of people of color? Hasn’t this group been victimized enough by powerful and rich white people in history? Shouldn’t a germ be color-blind? How can a germ decide one human is more susceptible to getting deathly ill than one who might not have the same access to a healthy lifestyle than another?
The statistics that are emerging from this pandemic are beyond alarming, but ask any person of color living in the USA if they are surprised. Sadly they are not.
Black people, at 46 percent, and Latinos, at 39 percent, are about twice as likely as white people, at 21 percent, to view the coronavirus as a major threat to their health.
In Michigan, black Americans comprise 14.1 percent of the state population, but an ungodly 40 percent of coronavirus deaths. In Washtenaw County, home to Ann Arbor, 48 percent of residents hospitalized with the coronavirus are black, though black people make up only 11 percent of the county. In Illinois, the infection rate among black Americans is twice their percentage of the state population. In North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County, which includes Charlotte, black people comprise 32.9 percent of the residents, but 43.9 of the confirmed coronavirus cases, as of March 30. In Milwaukee, black Americans make up 26 percent of the county, but nearly half of the infections and a maddening 81 percent of deaths as of Friday.
Humans all have immune systems but the statistics emerging from the coronavirus feed the dangerous doctrine of white supremacists and I am scared #*%&less.
We put a man on the moon 50 years ago, and now we can’t control the spread of viruses unless we distance ourselves from our human brothers? Huh? Maybe our whole system of life that is “reactive” should be “proactive”? Maybe during this unprecedented time out in our lives, we should learn the lessons that greed and power disguised as “success” and “progress” are dangerous when it reinforces the things that divide us as humans.
If separation is the only way to stop the spread of a virus, maybe loving our brothers and sisters and embracing our differences is the only way humanity can survive and grow so this never happens again. Perhaps we all need to take a time out to reflect on the direction we have gone for the sake of “progress and success” is the right direction for human survival.
Call me a dreamer, but reality right now is a nightmare.
"Some men see things as they are, and ask why. I dream of things that never were, and ask why not." - Robert Kennedy