As I have sheltered in place like many of you from COVID-19 I have thought a lot about the future. As a mother I wonder what life will look like for my daughters and other youth as they ponder their future jobs, relationships, activity. Additionally, I wonder how people will fare emotionally after having been told that they cannot live a life where the very concept of humanity has changed. As social animals we need to touch celebrate and commune. This virus, or the executive management of this, has separated us from all of those rituals. If we cannot shake hands, we cannot hold hands, we cannot hug, we cannot kiss, and so on and so on…
It is clear that the systemic issues facing us have been laid bare by the disruption of everyone’s daily lives. Before this the blame was laid squarely on the victim. But we are clear now that these deficiencies are not about that. The digital divide, the falsities about employment, the health access disparities, the education disparity, the housing deficiency, the lack of relevant employment in communities, the shifting demographics, and we could go on. But the point is that we all now know the cost to our society of the exclusion born from racism over centuries.
As we try to rebuild, it is critical that we address the problems that allowed this to happen in the first place.
The Federalist Papers are arguably the first use of propaganda to sway public opinion by the US government. We now have daily press briefings that masquerade as press conferences as a method of public management. In an effort to support the Constitution the papers described the importance of guidelines for the necessity of the constitution as well as the traits essential to hold executive leadership. In paper #68 Alexander Hamilton outlines the characteristics of ambition, avarice and vanity, as implosive to the office of the President. These very civilized entreaties never assumed that anyone other than white Christian men would hold this office and proposed that these virtues would be normative of that elite group. It was never imagined that the voices of the descendants of enslaved Africans, women, believers in a variety of religions, or other types of immigrants would be a part of the conversation. But they are now.