The COVID-19 virus is disproportionally affecting low-income citizens. “We Stand Together” echoes throughout our nation. Citizens volunteer their time and resources to support those in need.
Will this support continue once a vaccine is available and the virus is contained? Or, will we revert to pre-pandemic “as long as it doesn’t affect me” attitudes? Will we value receiving higher returns in our retirement accounts over paying all workers a decent wage; corporate profits over providing workers with safe working conditions, health and pension benefits?
Calling essential workers “heroes” is hollow rhetoric if we do not match our words with our actions.
When we fail to pay our nursing home, health aides, day care, sanitation, restaurant, grocery store, production and supply chain workers what they should be paid we fail to honor them with the respect and dignity they deserve. Everyone deserves “economic dignity”: be paid a wage that enables them to buy food, housing, clothing, schooling for their children; save for emergencies; and have access and the means to obtain health care. Earning enough to support oneself and their family is the first step to creating true equality in our democracy.
Each of us faces a moral choice: will I value my personal financial security over that of my fellow citizens or will I make choices that result in “economic dignity” for all?