I began working from home this week. I had mentioned in previous posts about how there has been a lot of blatant underhanded snark (Oh, go ahead and do what you need to do then 20 minutes later sending a text about “real” leadership). I’ve also mentioned coming to the decision that I’m not going to let that bother me—and that’s helping because I have a decision to stand in whether other people like it or not. I still feel immense guilt but I know I have to take care of my family.
I took my guilt and I started thinking about how this is playing out during this pandemic. I’ve been looking at the story we are constantly telling ourselves and I find myself becoming more and more frustrated. I’m talking about the story of what leadership looks like. The truth is I have yet to see any real form of leadership from those in power. I HAVE seen leadership in the people who have stood up and said we are not going to take this anymore and they have organized to get PPE for medical staff. They have helped their neighbors get food and supplies. They have told those people ignoring the stay at home order that they need to get home.
I am SO proud to work in a field where people are there to help others. They are there to fix what is wrong and what can’t be fixed alone. They help people at their weakest and in their greatest moments. But I am not proud of the fact that these people are being exploited as heroes because of the bad decisions those in power have made. This was an entirely preventable tragedy when it came time to make the decision to take measures to keep this illness at bay. Instead we have a country that did the bare minimum to lock down and the disease spread like wildfire—just as they knew it would—and those in power offered no real relief in the form of suspending bills, utilities, rents/mortgages. They told people to stay home all the while ignoring the fact that these people were going to lose their jobs, their homes, lose everything if they didn’t work. Our government put all of us in the position of choosing between our livelihood and our lives because they refused to help where it was needed.
And then in my field, in my organization specifically, to be guilted into their version of what leadership looks like, to put all of our lives on the line as if this was some noble cause instead of the preventable tragedy it is. It makes me sick. To STILL continually see people out socially frustrates me as well because the longer we go on like this, with half measures in place, the longer this disease will continue to spread. New Zealand chose the route of a specific time of universal hardship and it WORKED. Why on Earth would we all not follow? Why do we have this mentality that we are so special, that we are the only ones who’s way of life can’t be disrupted?
Because we are run by money. We determine worth by what’s in your bank account, where you live, what clothes you wear, who you sleep with. We like to pretend we are more evolved than that and that we are really being taken care of during this crisis. But the truth is, if we were all truly unified, if we were all being taken care of, we could have put a dent in this madness already and potentially have even stopped it. We would have had leadership that stood up and said, for all the people we are going to change and make sure as many people as possible come through this alive. We wouldn’t be reusing soiled protective equipment and touting it as an act of bravery. Believe me, I know it IS brave—but I also know that there were ways to prevent this. So the people who run the show don’t want to be on the frontline—that is fine, but at least have the damn decency to provide for those who are protecting the rest of us.
I have also seen the story of men in suits pretending that this is going to be business as usual someday. I pray to God it NEVER goes back to business as usual. When this is all over, I pray that we remember what we are all going through right now. I pray we remember so we don’t go through it again. I pray we remember why we have to do things differently. I pray we no longer take our freedoms for granted and that we no longer allow those who have actually done the dirty work for the rest of us, who have put their lives on the line, to be taken advantage of. I pray we actually appreciate each other and not just the dollar our efforts bring to a business. Because the only thing stopping us now is a bullshit belief that we have to put in the time to make a dime. I’m not saying that we don’t have to work for something—I am saying that we are all worth more than a God damn dime. Until we shift the mentality that allows businesses to throw people away for the sake of a dime, we are going to suffer because we confuse the purpose and value of life. Let’s remember that all lives are worth it and let’s actually remember what it means to live again. Let’s do that. And let’s stop pretending that we CAN’T do that. We can do anything. So let’s do the right thing for everyone.