A wake-up call for the future
To the Editor:
It is inspiring to see how most people are supporting the social distancing efforts and reaching out to help each other during this pandemic. When faced with a clear and immediate threat it is amazing how well people can respond. And yet, I am very concerned when I hear people speak of hoping everything will soon be “back to normal.” Surely, we all need to take some part of our time at home to recognize that this pandemic is a very serious warning … a “wake up call.”
I am concerned that our government’s solution to the economic threat posed by COVID-19 is spending $2 trillion, borrowed from future generations, trying to “prop up” an unsustainable economic system. This system will continue to be battered not only by pandemics but by massive wildfires, extreme storms, heat-related crop failures and rising sea levels. Both climate change and an uncontrolled national debt are clearly threatening even worse consequences for our future COVID-19.
I have taken time lately studying how large the U.S. national debt already is ($23-plus trillion) and the likely future impacts of increasing that debt. All the projections I find regarding our ballooning national debt read almost exactly like the projections for the impacts of climate change. There are potential tipping points leading into an irreversible downward spiral towards a future nobody wants to experience.
I find myself now with an ethical dilemma, because my government has decided to send me $1,200 that it doesn’t really have ... out of that $2 trillion they’re borrowing from the future. Taking money that I believe makes our collective economic house of cards even more top-heavy with debt seems completely unethical to me, even destructive and counterproductive. It feels like “blood money.” I could refuse it, but then likely only watch worthless walls get built, or corporate bailouts.
I simply don’t see any real hope for future generations, even if our economy somehow avoids collapse, unless we address climate change in the next few years. So, I am leaning towards donating my $1,200 worth of this stolen money taken from future generations to climate change efforts ... hoping to somehow wash the stain of it from my hands. I’m hoping to maybe save pieces of our present quality of life for future generations.
I believe we are living through the exact sort of history that we desperately need to learn from and never repeat again.
So I hope things never go back to normal; I hope people will try to spend this money borrowed from future generations to help ensure that we leave a healthier world to them.
It’s a time to make wise choices
To the Editor:
A friend recently told me with some sadness he had decided not to continue his longstanding volunteer commitment to a local organization during the COVID-19 pandemic. His age and medical comorbidities mean he would be at risk for complicated infection if he contracts COVID-19. I thanked him. If he does not become infected, then one of my patients or coworkers may have access to a limited resource such as an ICU bed.
All of us have this power and, as a primary care provider, I want to say thank you to each of you who decides every day in multiple ways to limit your risk. If you do not get infected, then your neighbor might be more likely to get the ventilator she needs. Thank you for choosing wisely.