A Different Perspective on the COVID-19 Crisis by Melody Benes

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(AP Photo/John Minchillo). Photo courtesy of CNN.

(AP Photo/John Minchillo). Photo courtesy of CNN.

As we began settling into finals week I was at a loss as to what to write. So, I decided to write a letter. This letter is to all of RMC; students, staff, professors, and alumni. We have been an amazing resource and community for each other. I applaud the efforts put forth by everyone. The support is astonishing.

That being said, I honestly have lost all motivation to continue on, but regardless am pushing forward. I am sure we all are feeling this way, and I can only imagine how it has multiplied for our seniors. It is absolutely heart wrenching that their greatest accomplishments thus far in their lives cannot be celebrated as they traditionally have been for past seniors. I applaud the graduating class for continuing in the face of adversity and not giving up. You are an inspiration.

It’s so easy to focus on what is going wrong and the negatives of our situation. People are getting sick and dying, life as we know it has been ripped from under us, people are losing their jobs and homes, the economy is collapsing, and our supply chain is broken. If all we think about are these factors, we will quickly spiral into despair, but maybe we already have. Our country is divided, and we have forgotten how to love our neighbors.

This has exposed so much more than how under prepared and naive our leaders are. It exposed a major class divide. Those who have jobs that are easily worked from home and those who do not. Those who have financial security and those working paycheck to paycheck. Most importantly, it has shown that when you are crippled by insurmountable debt, whether it is student loans or any other type of debt, it is impossible to save for a safety net. This is the reality for an overwhelming majority of Americans.

It has shown most Americans are actually much more financially unstable than previously thought, this sector is mainly middle class and lower class. No, I am not calling to implement policies that set enormous taxes on the wealthiest and redistribute it to the lower classes. This will eliminate the middle class entirely who are an essential buffer that we need between the two classes. That being said, maybe we underestimated how secure our middle class was. Maybe it divided our middle class into two sectors that is further divided by political biases.

The middle class has borne the brunt of the burden. It has always been the sacrificial lamb when government policies are made. Maybe this has contributed to the instability of the middle class as a whole. Perhaps overwhelming government intervention in the economy has been precisely the reason why the middle class is disappearing. What happens when the middle class is gone?

Maybe we have imploded upon ourselves and are our own virus by continuing to vote the “lesser of the two evils.” Believing the lie that third party votes are a wasted vote is exactly how we ended up in the situation we are in. John Quincy Adams was concerned about the growth of political parties and the divide that would come from it. He implored to vote your conscience and vote for principle. I wonder what our world would be like today if we had heeded his advice.

Perhaps, now is the time to examine what is happening in our country. This is not focusing on just the data from COVID-19, but being aware of the entire context as well. Now, it is more essential than ever to vote principle and vote your conscience. Perhaps, now is the time to challenge our own misconceptions about where our principles and morals lie.

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