The coronavirus outbreak reveals a truth most Americans already know. There is a divide in our country driven by inequality that exists in plain sight. Our systems cannot, and do not support all Americans, for various reasons. Our politics has not worked to reduce the problems confronting many Americans. Just look at SOME of what this crisis has “uncovered” …
- Our health care infrastructure is inadequate. Too many people cannot afford healthcare. Others cannot afford to take time off work to receive healthcare.
- Many people live paycheck to paycheck. They cannot afford to take a day off and miss a portion of their paycheck.
- More children rely on school meals than we thought. They need meals provided by schools just to avoid hunger. Even with these meals, far too many children still go to bed hungry.
- Many people cannot afford daycare. As a result, so settle for smaller day cares that barely meet the standards they should uphold. Other people chose to let their kids stay home alone.
- Many people do not have adequate savings to handle a disruption of daily life. They will have a hard time should businesses and workplaces shut down.
- Many people do not benefit from the tax structure in our country. While some receive tax breaks from their tax status, others are penalized for various reasons.
- Many people suffer from inadequate access to affordable housing and rent control. Inability to afford rent relegates millions of people to high-density, yet low quality housing.
- Our regulatory systems do not benefit enough Americans. Businesses can take advantage of holes in regulations that negatively affect people in ways they will never know or understand.
Unfortunately, the coronavirus has exposed the truth. Compassion and empathy should prevent people from finger-pointing. Instead, we need to work together to support each other. We need to work together to end the threat of the coronavirus and prevent future pandemics. Our work begins with knowledge and awareness of these (and countless others not mentioned here). Our next move is to work on bridging the gap between those who have and those who have not by tackling these issues.
If nothing else good comes from this crisis, think about the fact that maybe, just maybe, all Americans now know what was “hidden” in plain sight: there is a divide in our country driven by inequality. Until we address the inequality in our society, events like the coronavirus will continue to pull our country apart. Let’s work together to keep us together.
Gary A. McAbee created the Wake Up/Rise Up Black America blog to have a powerful voice and positive impact in African-American neighborhoods, communities, and society. The articles posted are not only for African-Americans, but for all people due to their relevance and cultural significance. Along with his other blog, Motivation for the World, Gary can get people talking about issues that affect us all. He is the proud author of three self-help books: Wake Up! 42 Ways to Improve Black America Now!, the follow-up Rise Up! 42 Additional Ways to Improve Black America Now! , and Defining Success: One Word at a Time.
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