Both GOP and Democratic Party Want Us to Surrender to COVID for Capitalism

We have been through a nearly two-year-long pandemic. Not only have we suffered loss, illness, and social isolation, but also the mental exhaustion of trying to keep our loved ones and ourselves safe from ever-changing variants, infection rates, and vaccine protections.

We had to learn early on to avoid falling for what psychologists call “psychosis”. “all or nothing” thinking — the logical fallacy that either a given situation is a complete success or total failure. Many of us used this distorted way of thinking to conclude that if we couldn’t be completely isolated from potential infection, then we might as well not even try.

This false dichotomy was obviously a bad method of risk assessment — the equivalent of someone claiming they can drive drunk every day because they did it once. However, it was simple and enticing. Some people were more susceptible than others.

We all knew (or were aware of) a friend who said that she might as easily go to restaurants, since she was already being exposed at work. All of us had (or were) the uncles who suggested in the Zoom call that an inconsistency in the plan meant that we should all gather inside without masks.

Over time, however, most of us learned to think more in terms of probabilities than absolutes, shades of gray rather than black or white — even as we might have different opinions about the levels of risk and reward in various activities.

It is possible to believe that this collective learning process would have been beneficial in recent months, when we were faced with the latest variables in the ever-evolving COVID calculus: a majority vaccinated population, and a new Omicron variant which is highly contagious. less lethal for most vaccinated people than its predecessorIt is not as dangerous as it used to be, but it is still extremely dangerous for vulnerable populations.

Instead, politicians, CEOs and even public health leaders have led a coordinated campaign of regression back into the simplistic and disastrous variant of “all or nothing”: We can’t completely eradicate COVID, so let’s stop even trying to reduce and slow its spread.

During the highest COVID spike, some governors refused to revive mask mandatesMayors are responsible for ensuring that the city is safe. denied schools the option to temporarily operate online, and the Centers for Disease Control and PreventionChanged its guidelines to allow employers and workers to force infected workers to return to work after five days, without any negative tests.

As a result of this epic irrationality, the potentially good news of Omicron’s lower lethality has been squandered into a chilling display of disregard for the immunocompromised and an assault on our hospital systemsThis makes us all more vulnerable to any health emergency in the future.

As is so often the case with political parties, they used different emotional and cultural appeals in justifying their support for the same terrible policy of letting COVID decimate the population.

Republicans have been railing against the injustices of pandemic restrictions for the past two years, but they have failed to acknowledge the reality of the virus that makes them necessary. To return to the family metaphor, they have acted like children who think that rules meant to keep them out of danger are “unfair,” and they jump on any sign of parental inconsistency to claim that none of the rules make sense.

Their “all or nothing” arguments, more understandable in preteens than in senators, are that Anthony Fauci was wrong at first about masks so he must be wrong about everything; vaccines don’t prevent all infections so they don’t prevent any infections; 2020 lockdowns didn’t end COVIDThey did nothing.

Democrats, however, see themselves as the only adults at the table. They are caught between Republicans that deny the seriousness COVID and leftists that refuse to accept the fact that the virus will not go away. In reality, Joe Biden is required to simply do most of what the left wanted. deliver on his own campaign For schools and workplaces to be open with reasonable safety, there must be adequate ventilation, testing and masking.

While Republicans act like irresponsible children, Democrats strike the grating pose of parents who respond to a reasonable question from their kid about a friend whose parents have more lax rules with inanities like, “Oh and I suppose if Teddy Johnson jumped off the Empire State Building, then you would too!”

It was the energy that made it possible. White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki gave off last December when she sneered at a reporter who simply wanted to know why the Biden administration wouldn’t make COVID tests freely available like in many other countries.

The problem for Biden and other Democrats is that these measures, along with temporary measures paying workers to stay home during peak virus spikes, entail a sustained policy shift toward investing in schools, public health and employee working conditions — all of which are anathema to the donor classes of both parties who have been pushing for a return to “normal,” by which they mean U.S. capitalism’s minimal social safety net and business oversight.

So Democrats have turned to their own more sophisticated version of “all or nothing” logic: gaslighting the calls for basic public health measuresThese extreme demands were made by epidemiologists and the left to have permanent lockdowns in an ineffectual effort to eradicate COVID. When teachers (and many parents) asked for temporary remote learning to allow schools to adequately prepare for Omicron, for example, Democratic mayors in Chicago and elsewhere twisted this into a call for endless school closures — and then accused teachers of not caring how students would be impacted by an awful demand that they never made.

The current turn by Democrats in favor of the Republican policy to give up the fight against COVID, which has taken place in recent months, is both catastrophic and concerning for the future. One in five health care workers has left the industry since the start of the pandemic — and the current crush on hospitals will likely worsen that trend, which could prove disastrous if a future variant that’s more lethal than Omicron emerges.

Then there’s our culture’s increasing desensitization to mass death. There were approximately 2,000 COVID deaths per day in January. This is while our public discourse has been flooded with. conservatives and liberals alike complaining that we’re overly concerned about COVID.

The glimmer of hope is in the signs that many people have not followed this charge into illogic and cruelty, and have retained the critical facility for avoiding the false binary of surrendering to COVID because we can’t defeat it.

There has been a national wave of student protests demanding better pandemic safety policies for schools. This has been critical support for educators who have been accused of being selfish for raising the same concerns. Psaki received a lot of backlash after she decided to make testing more readily available. the Biden administration was forced to implement the very Distribution of tests that Psaki mocked as unrealistic.

We need more. Public expectations need to be raised in the same way they were raised around COVID tests after Psaki’s gaffe. We need ventilation in public spaces and universal paid sick leave. We also need to release COVID-infested convicts from prison and allow workers to stay at home. We need a COVID justice structure that is linked with the left in the same manner as Medicare for All and The Green New Deal.

When we raise these demands, socialists are the ones said to be engaging in “all or nothing” extremism. We are accused of supporting Medicare for All over Obamacare or requesting that Immigration and Customs Enforcement be dissolved. making the perfect the enemy of the goodrefusing to accept a middle way.

But there’s nothing extreme about wanting everyone to have the right health care and migration, or that the richest country in the world keep spending money to protect us from a plague. The fact that the ruling class believes these basic demands indicate we want everything is a sign of how determined they are to deny us anything.