SoCS: looking for meaning

I, along with millions of others, am searching for a deep, inner meaning in these troubled times.

I’m fortunate to be affiliated with a number of organizations that center on social and environmental justice. While these organizations are working on ways to help in the immediate circumstances, they are also looking forward toward lessons to take away from these times and ideas to transform our social systems to better support people and the planet in the future.

Here in the United States, it is easier than ever to see the impacts of income inequality. So many people don’t earn enough to have any savings cushion at all that the sudden loss of work immediately puts them at risk of hunger and/or homelessness. As we rebuild our economy in the coming months/years, I hope the US will finally institute some kind of living wage protocol so workers can afford to live a dignified life and support their families, with some ability to save for future needs. We also need a stronger social safety net to help people who, due to age, health status, location, caregiving responsibilities, etc., are not able to have paid work.

At the moment – and for decades before now – the United States has had economic policies that have favored business owners and stockholders over the rest of the population. Money is taken to be a form of free speech and politicians have been showered in money by the powerful. Many of them are representing these monied interests more so than their human constituents. As we take stock of the pandemic and post-this-particular-pandemic world, we need to return to the founding principle that government exists to “promote the general welfare.” (That’s from the preamble of the US Constitution, for those not familiar with the phrase.)  It’s also often called working for the common good.

Scientists have noted how much clearer the air is, especially in major cities. With people in many countries staying at home and with a large number of businesses shut down, there are a lot fewer emissions that cause air pollution and that add to the climate crisis. Those of us who have been working on climate issues have been hearing for years that there isn’t political will to change our lifestyles to cut carbon for the sake of the planet, but the pandemic shows that our world can mobilize on a large scale – and quickly – to change business as usual. Obviously, emissions will rise when more businesses are able to re-open, but, perhaps, the pandemic will lead to some permanent changes that will keep emissions lower than what had been the status quo. Perhaps some employees will work from home most days of the week, coming together physically only on certain days to better work out solutions to problems. Maybe there will be less business travel in favor of teleconferencing. Maybe the reorganizing of the economy will include more local/domestic manufacturing and food production to cut down on shipping and boost supplies. Maybe the US will follow the lead of Europe and use this juncture to institute a “green deal” that promotes both climate/environmental and social justice causes.

So many possibilities.

There is a lot of work that many are doing to meet the immediate needs of people in this time of pandemic and I commend all of them for their deep sense of duty and service. I also appreciate those who are able to analyze the past and the present and use those insights to help us prepare for the future. If we are wise and brave, we will build a safer, better, sustainable, and dignified life for all living beings and our planet.
*****
Linda’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday/A to Z prompt is “deep.” Join us! Find out how here:  https://lindaghill.com/2020/04/03/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-april-4-2020/

2019-2020 SoCS Badge by Shelley!
https://www.quaintrevival.com/

Author: Joanne Corey

Please come visit my eclectic blog, Top of JC's Mind. You can never be sure what you'll find!

8 thoughts on “SoCS: looking for meaning”

  1. Nice to hear how things are in America. It’s not only South Africa that has inequality then? Maybe we have more of it, more homelessness? If this pandemic does anything I hope governments will learn to goven for the good of the people and not for the good of the politicians/backers/captains of industry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Unfortunately, the US has problems with inequality in a lot of ways – race, gender, ethnicity, income, health status – and some people are suffering from multiple layers. I don’t know how our statistics match with yours in South Africa, but there are way too many people here who live in poverty or who immediately land in poverty if they lose a job or have an unexpected expense. We must do better.

      Like

  2. “…government exists to “promote the general welfare.” That cannot be overstated. Hopefully we will realize what’s important to the general welfare, like equality, health care and science. On a more personal level, maybe we’ll realize we don’t need to go quite so many places. Maybe staying closer to home will become a habit?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I also hope that more people will come to view democratic government as a mechanism to uphold the common good and that, as Pope Francis says, that the economy is meant to serve the people, not the other way around.

      I think some people will be going out less than they had previously. I just hope that is not because so many small businesses cannot weather this and close permanently.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I find it sobering to see comparisons of how many fewer deaths there will be in China because of the industrial shutdown versus the lives lost to the virus. This is not to say the tradeoff of tens of thousands from pollution to a few thousands from the virus is somehow worth it, but it is a way to see, as you say, what we are taking for granted in the impacts of pollution and environmental degradation.

      Like

Any thoughts? Please share.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s