Back to Work. Who decides if it is safe to go back to work? Who decides if the measures taken are "good enough" to protect employees and the people they interact with? I had a conversation yesterday with a relative who implied that playing youth sports was ok because they followed three of the four recommendations (masks, temperature checks, sanitation) but of course by definition they can't practice social distancing. My son's company essentially took travel off the table until at least March 2021. For a company that makes its living traveling to customers, that seems like a bold move that reshapes the new normal. Because they are not traveling that reduces expenses and should make it easier for them to sell their services. By at least one employee's estimate they have lost no effectiveness by not traveling weekly to the client's offices. My brother is being told what will happen. He's a teacher and his career will be decided by people who don't actually interact with those little disease spreaders. Meanwhile congress seems focused on making sure that if damages from returning to work do occur, that they won't be allowed to sue for damages.
I think I understand the feeling of wanting to go back to work and feeling like you may not have a choice if you want to continue to feed your family. Everyone can decide for themselves what risks they want to take as employers suggest a "take it or leave it" type of approach. I can't say what I would do. I've been very vocal that I'm not stepping foot in my office for the foreseeable future, but my office layout, the nature of my work and the difficult of replacing me, all make it a little easier for me. If I was told to that the company required me to travel right now, for instance, I'm not sure what I would respond. Overall, I think society wins if we push more people to work out of their homes and spend less time driving in circles every day.
What's wrong with us? There is a concept of American exceptionalism that in common parlance suggests that Americans are somehow better than everyone else. We are certainly unique and it appears that our Virus curve is unique as well. And not in a good way. While the rest of the world seems to have this thing largely figured out (with a few significant exceptions), our experience appears to be getting worse. Why? It occurred to me that the answer is in our name: we are the United States of America. We formed as a faction of states bonding together in our communal self-interest but at the same time our system gives the states great power to look out for their own self-interest. Small states, for example, have just as much of a voice in the Senate as large states. And as a capitalist society we run on a level of self-interest. We reward people and states for doing what's in their best interest even if that's not in the communal best interest. In fact, the communal best interest is communism and is something that Americans are taught to hate. We're taught to take care of ourselves first and think of others second. We are not one team, we are a collection of individual teams. Yankee fans hate the Mets fans and yet they share the same city. It appears to me that the countries that have done best are those that are unified around a common good instead of factioned into disparate parts.
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