It feels a little risky to hope right now, but I find myself doing it anyway.
This is not because I’m a particularly optimistic person—I’m not. In fact, I’ve often found comfort in the theory that, as we evolved as a species, pessimists may have been more likely to pass on their genetic material than optimists [*shrugs]. And I’ve often thought that, since the dawn of vaccines and the long absence of wars fought on U.S. soil, some people have forgotten how much we need a functional government and one another.
As our lives have changed in order to (we hope) slow the spread of the Coronavirus, I find myself hoping that our world, our lives, our society will be different for those who remain after… whatever and whenever “after” is.
Here are some of my hopes:
I hope we finally build the healthcare system that our country needs, and that we make sure everyone has access to it, no exceptions.
I hope we finally build the social safety net that our country needs, and that we stop thinking people who have had harder lives and/or one or more run(s) of bad luck are free-loaders looking for a handout [*stares directly at Lindsey Graham].
Put another way: I hope we realize that some people’s lives are harder than our own.
I hope we stop thinking that a rising tide lifts all boats when some people don’t have boats to begin with. NB: the same goes for picking oneself up by one’s bootstraps.
I hope everyone has access to clean, safe water. Every day, no matter what.
I hope we do the hard work of dismantling structural and individual racism.
Related to this, I hope we stop blaming bad things on “bad” people; I hope we stop thinking that being different from ourselves is “bad.”
I hope we value the lives of our elders, the disabled, and the chronically ill as much as we value the lives of younger, healthier people.
I hope we stop thinking that healthy people did something, or everything, “right,” and that’s why they’re healthy.
I hope we discard the concepts of deserving and not deserving.
I hope we remember that homelessness is a solvable public policy issue.
I hope we value the labor of grocery clerks, delivery people, farm workers, letter carriers, child care workers, custodial workers, and other “low-skilled” workers as much as we value the work of tech gurus and investment bankers and auto company executives.
I hope we value the labor of stay-at-home parents and educators—especially K-12 educators—as much as we value the labor of working parents and professional athletes.
I hope we stop acting like our home lives / family lives should never be visible to our superiors and colleagues at work.
I hope men who didn’t realize how much actual labor it is to run a household and care for children and feed a family, because women have been doing the majority of this work since forever, will realize it and pitch in more.
I hope we remember that children and teens don’t need to be scheduled from 7AM to 9PM.
I hope we remember that, left to their own devices during unstructured time, children and teens will occupy themselves with some pretty amazing (and educational) things.
I hope we remember that it’s really nice to be at home in the evenings.
I hope we remember that human beings are not designed to be productive during every waking minute. I hope we keep in mind that productivity is a capitalist concept from an economic theory that is literally merely a theory and does not play out in practice [newsflash: we are not rational actors; information is not symmetrical [*stares directly at Richard Burr]; profits are not actually zero].
I hope corporations will be required to pay taxes on their profits to help fund the programs and policies we need. I hope those (people and corporations) who resent paying taxes will stop acting like they’re doing the rest of us a favor: you use taxpayer-funded things, too.
I hope we remember that “the economy” itself is a construct and that anatomically modern humans existed on earth for nearly 200,000 years before the Dow Jones Industrial Average was created in 1896.
I hope we remember that, as John Maynard Keynes—economist of my very heart—said: In the long run, we’re all dead.
I hope we tend fiercely-gently to those who have lost, or lose, loved ones.
I hope we tend fiercely-gently to ourselves.
I hope we moisturize our hands more.
I hope we keep taking a walk every day.
I hope we all let our hair go gray so everyone can see how beautiful it is.
I hope we stop trying to have perfect bodies, and remember that sometimes a little extra weight can be a really good thing, especially when/if you get sick.
Tbh, I hope we all learn to cook with dried beans and legumes (Reader, I’ve been doing it forever and it is a *rock solid* approach to feeding the young on a budget).
I hope we do a little more of “use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” And at the same time, I hope we buy those few, small luxuries that we can afford along the way—things that give us pleasure. I hope we don’t save them for “special” days.
Tbh, I hope all these corporations who want me to buy their products stop emailing me. FOREVER.
I hope we eat more comfort food.
I hope we never again vote for a racist, narcissistic sociopath with no experience in public service—who a month ago called this virus a “hoax” cooked up by Democrats—because “he says what he’s thinking.”
I hope everyone who wants one gets a dog.