Why “reopening” the U.S. this summer is the right move
Something mysterious has happened over the past several weeks. Strict stay at home orders and social distancing were lifted to ensure a staged and orderly reopening. But what we got instead were stories of packed pool parties and bars.
And I’m ok with that.
Because the failure to adhere to social distancing guidelines was going to happen sooner or later. By happening now, in the way that it has happened, will finally drive home the point that we need to listen to public health experts. When they say socially distance or wear a mask, you better damn well listen.
Socially Distancing does not mean Stay at Home
Many argue we need to stay at home. But the strongest advocates of this position are those privileged to work remotely. And simply advocating for it online didn’t do much to organize collective action. Did people boycott Amazon? Did they fund and help organize the Amazon warehouse strike? Or recognize and pressure CEOs to meet the the May Day labor movement demands asking for reasonable things like better pay and PPE protection for grocery workers?
We “stay at home” advocates didn’t show. Not physically of course. We didn’t show up online nor did we use our social capital to help. As a result, hazard pay was cut. And an Amazon warehouse worker died.
Our economy has been open, not at full capacity, but chugging along with a combination of remote workers and “essential” (often treated as disposable) workers. We remote workers may share things in common with stockers at Walmart, but we’re not acting as good allies.