Well, life continues under our 2020 pandemic. Puzzling has captivated my attention. I telephoned, Emily, the owner of Main Street Books in St. Charles, Missouri…and ordered three more puzzles. Yes, we have been home bound…for awhile. MJ asked me what additional puzzles that Main Street had, other than the Celestial Sky model, that I purchased earlier this week. I emailed, Emily, and she responded within minutes. What a refreshing change from the, forlorn habit, of people who wait an interminable amount of time to respond…or not at all, which has been my experience over many years. Illinois lost the most lives, today, to the virulent virus. Our Governor, covertly, purchased PPE from China and brought it into our state, under guard, to prohibit the Federal government from confiscating the precious life saving material.
I was parked in the, locked, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, parking lot, this afternoon. The lot was empty accept for my red Camry and the truck of a gentleman who walked to the back of the company vehicle and removed trash collecting bags and proceeded to collect refuse from the area. As he walked slowly to the bins…the rain began. He had neither rain coat nor umbrella. I considered that this hard working man, represents much of the American work-force. No one has asked him his opinion of whether or not he is afraid of becoming ill with the virus. He is, probably, accustomed to working from paycheck to paycheck…and devotes little time to considering his health and welfare…he does not have the luxury.
I admire any leader who chooses to give a consistent and logical message to us during a chaotic time. So much of leadership is the nuts and bolts of the hard work that it takes to ensure the health and safety of their citizens. There is a profound and stark difference in leaders who are show horses and those who are work horses. The stultifying comments of some doctors who advise their television viewing audience that schools should go back in session as there would, only, be a 2% – 3% mortality rate…that is over 9 million human beings! Real physicians…tell you the truth. If you have cancer…will you be satisfied if you are advised that you have the common cold…and it will disappear?
It goes without saying that the economic catastrophe that has encompassed our globe, is unparalleled in our lifetimes. This pandemic has exposed the inequities that have been in our society. Our grocery store workers are essential to our survival. Many have died from COVID-19. They are afraid to go to work…with good reason. Sadly, we have accepted, all to long, that there are millions of people that not only do not make a living wage…while at the same time they are vital to the functioning of our society.
I was listening to a young woman from China speak of her fears in now being allowed to leave her home and visit, small, clothing shops…for the first time in weeks. She was afraid of contracting the virus. A phased in approach to re-opening our economy has to be done…but it should not be done without a commitment to testing on a massive scale to identify who is ill and who is not. South Korea was a model for effective and wide-spread testing…not political rhetoric and obfuscation and the lack of a concrete plan that will calm the fears of all of us…as we return to earning a living and providing for our families.
Life must be our primary concern and our express goal, in all of our human endeavors. Life is more important than our ‘way of life,’ which is political-speak for capitalism and a vibrant stock market… Somewhere we have lost our way. My management philosophy for the over 25 years that I was a manager at Southern Illinois University @ Carbondale, could be summed up in a sentence. Put people first, and work excellence will follow.
Our ability to return to work and revitalize our economy is not contingent on a frenetic race to open things up…without the commensurate work of protecting those workers, with massive testing, in order to ensure their comfort in returning to work…and our economy will automatically renew with the energy and vitality of the hard work of safe and secure, Americans!
The renown English author, J.R.R. Tolkien said, ‘It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.’ My entire life has been a simple life…as is the majority of people that I know. In the little Southern Illinois town of Eldorado…I knew a lot of working poor people. I knew kids that did not have summer shoes so they went barefoot for the season. I recall a dignified professional gentleman who worked for, Ben Franklin Dime Store, and was a vital member of the retail establishment for his entire career.
Age strips illusions of grandeur from a person. Life teaches us that we should love the little people…and that we are all the little people!