With 38 million unemployed Americans and with fewer and fewer holding health insurance during a time of pandemic and with that pandemic offering a kind of X-Ray on the shadow dimensions to our culture—dimensions of class and race and poverty and hunger and underprivilege and overprivilege—it seems that our post-corona times will call for an immense tsunami of imagination. Re-imagining the way we do work and education, health care and politics, religion and—surely—economics.
A few days ago I heard a report on NPR that was discussing how much to charge for a vaccine for coronavirus should one come available. I was genuinely astounded to hear the “expert” say that the price had to be far more than the cost to the manufacturer in order to make sure other suppliers would be properly “motivated.”
“WHAT?” I shouted out loud to myself in the car! “You mean saving the human species and our many cultures (and economics systems I might add) are not sufficient “motivation” for creating a vaccine? One also has to make a financial “killing” on it? And in the process no doubt exclude the poor and disadvantaged from access to it?”
The following day I received two notices posted on the internet. One told of how the HHS secretary, Alex Azar, at a congressional hearing in February when asked whether a Coronavirus vaccine would be available and affordable to all Americans replied that the government “can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest.”
In addition the issues of net neutrality and internet freedom are more important than ever during a coronavirus when, for example, the poor are being told to get on line to educate their children. But even if the poor have a computer, access to the internet is another matter. On Indian reservations, so hard hit by the coronavirus, often 90% of the residents do not have computers and on-line access.
Recent decisions by Ajit Pai, the head of FCC, makes it less and less possible for the poor to access the Internet because he has killed net neutrality and therefore access to the internet. We now know that fraudulent comments flooded his public hearing on net neutrality and a cover up ensued. The good newsis thatThe New York Times just won a major lawsuit that will force the FCC to open up a new comment proceeding and provide facts on why the previous net neutrality proceeding was bogus.
At the previous hearing Pai and his powerful backers refused to allow firefighters to offer their comments on the danger of repealing net neutrality. These firefighters, stymied by Verizon while battling wildfires, know the stakes for ensuring public safety via ready access to the internet by everyone.
One has to ask: What motivates such indifference to human suffering? To be continued.
See Matthew Fox, A Spirituality Named Compassion
See Matthew Fox, Original Blessing and Matthew Fox, Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for The Peoples of the Earth
Queries for Contemplation
During difficult times of coronavirus, unemployment, multiple deaths and climate change contributing to dams breaking and more, can you still pray the news?
How do you do that? How do we best put admonitions like “love thy neighbor” into action?
Creation Spirituality: Liberating Gifts for the Peoples of the Earth
Fox’s spirituality weds the healing and liberation found in North American Creation Spirituality and in South American Liberation Theology. Creation Spirituality challenges readers of every religious and political persuasion to unite in a new vision through which we learn to honor the earth and the people who inhabit it as the gift of a good and just Creator.
“A watershed theological work that offers a common ground for religious seekers and activists of all stripes.” — Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat, Spirituality and Practice.