HOW CAN THIS BE?
1. We have no national health care system to ensure vital and timely care for all in a pandemic.
Actually, we do. It’s called Medicare for those over 65. It’s not brain surgery to see the urgent need for a Medicare-For-All system. If the feds won’t do it, then each state must design their own version (and some states have been working on this for decades).
2. We have no national plan to ensure all health care providers have the protective equipment they need to perform their duties safely in a pandemic.
This could be remedied easily with sane national leadership. In WW2 the president said we needed industry to create war machines. We built lots. Fast. Now we need medical equipment to be the priority so every state is well-resourced because pandemics are far from over.
3. We discovered — to our absolute shock — that many of our elders in nursing homes live in at-risk environments with dismal care.
We require federal and state laws to ensure a new standard of care and a way to monitor and measure the quality of care in a transparent manner. Must our grandparents and elders endure hell-on-earth in their final years?
4. We can see that for many traumatized people, accessing timely behavioral health care is near impossible.
In an era of colliding crisis, family trauma and unprecedented change, each state must design their own universal mental health care system. This is one area begging for public and private sector partnerships as innovative video-centered counseling is taking off like Uber.
5. We found out that many of our child care and early childhood learning center workers barely make survival wages.
We require a new respect for the vital work done in the arena of early childhood and need to ensure living wages and benefits. To serve working parents (and those seeking work), each state needs a state-of-the-art system of accessible child care and early childhood development with well-paid staff.
6. We found out that, in the blink of an eye, there can be lines for bread and greatly limited access to food.
Each state and city needs to assess their food industries, distribution, and food security programs to prepare for an anything-can-happen world. We might wish to check on our water supplies, too. Just sayin’.
7. To our amazement, our mobile devices told us that there is something called “the digital divide”.
Wifi and tech is not a luxury, it’s what connects us to vital information, education, job training and placement and health care. State, county and city governments have access to the technology to fix this lack of access to the web fast (if they are motivated to do so by voters).
8. We learned that we have families living without electricity and water.
This can’t be acceptable to anyone except a stone cold sociopath. Leaders and change agents working on every level of government need to prioritize fixing this ASAP. We have the technology. Now we need the political will and one heck of a shout out for what is a social justice issue.
9. To those paying close attention, we know that anyone can be fired or furloughed. Any business (or entire industries) can cease to exist within minutes.
Each state must now do the vital work of designing a statewide jobs development and training programs. President FDR championed this many decades ago so we have models to review and learn from and the handy world wide web to help.
10. We live in a world of colliding crises where our innovation and compassion can solve any problem the universe throws at us.
What’s required of each of us is social engagement with the larger society. It’s not business as usual, and if caring people don’t unite, there are other types of humans eager to take over and turn your world into a Mad Max reality. As Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid’s Tale, once wrote, “Anything can happen anywhere, given the right circumstances.”
*The future is what we make it. Join the evolution.
Please excuse any typos as I construct an article at 3am on only one cup of Joe. These stories are mine and mine alone. I do not represent any organization here. If one of my illustrations looks like a real human or three-headed hydra, that’s total coincidence. Words and images ©Dominic Cappello but share with everyone you know. Questions? The Plan Forward awaits you here: www.tenvitalservices.org