What Matters in an Emergency Situation

There has never been a more important time to think about what matters the most to each and every one of us then right now.

We are in an unprecedented time in the world. There is a greater threat that sees no borders, races, gender, or class divisions. In only 4 months a new infectious disease has killed a record number of people, and infected even more. 

Ontario has declared a state of emergency. With each passing day over the past week the governments and leaders of the world have announced increasingly unusual measures to stop the spread of COVID19. Measures should be stepped up.  “We will spare no expense to support Ontarians,” Ontario’s Premier said when suspending traditional law for temporary emergency law.

Now we will see what we are made of as a people. Crises have a way of intensifying the best and worst parts of things. It is terrific to see how laser focused the media is working to get accurate information out to the general public. It is good to see countries’ leadership mostly listening to experts. There are a lot of acts of good that will come from good sources. There will be good acts that will come from sources we have traditionally seen as bad.

There will also be an aggravation of the weaknesses in our society and culture. While this new coronavirus sees no borders, races, gender, or class, we as a people do. Closing borders, closing business, closing services may be sound tactical measures that protect the vast majority of the public with the means to hunker down and wait out the virus; what about the people that don’t have those means? 

We have invisible people in our society and we need to see them now. The doors to libraries, to Tim Hortons, and to other service providers in Canada will be shuttered but we need to support the people who are counting on access to bathrooms, running water, and the internet. We kicked the can of equitable care down the road as a collective, we need to pick it up now. This is the time to prioritize the fairest treatment of all people. 

The conversation about how to protect the economy, the pensions of workers being ravaged by Wall Street and Bay Street panic, businesses and workers, is well underway. These conversations need to get bigger. We need to bring along the most vulnerable people in what could be this societies’ defining moment of goodness. Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures, let’s exhibit unprecedented exceptionalism. 

We have the means to do good, what we need now is the will.

From the Desk/Kitchen Table of Karl Dockstader

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