I’d like not to give up some experiences when COVID isolation is over, and to act on some lessons, part 2s

This is part two of the blog . See part 1 https://uponreconsidering.blog/2020/04/30/id-like-not-to-give-up-some-experiences-when-covid-isolation-is-over-and-to-act-on-some-lessons-part-1/

 

Closeness

This is associated with quiet and reduced busyness.  A quiet, non-busy time is an excellent opportunity to spend more time being close with family and friends and pets and nature.  It is a time to pay attention to what we see, hear, smell, and feel through touch and through our emotions.  Perhaps during this crisis we have more opportunity for closeness.  Being in the same place as another, breathing the same air, looking at the same surroundings (if not watching individualized games and TV), hearing the same things (if not plugged into different electronics), but not doing different things, nor perhaps, anything at all, really.  Perhaps sitting next to another close enough to touch and feel the connection, the shared heart beat and rhythm of breathing, and perceive the joy that comes with this.

I know that being together in a more restricted environment is not always a happy experience.  For years I did intake for a local Children’s Aid Society, provided support for male abusers as they awaited group therapy, and provided counseling for couples who, after separate group therapies, wanted to try to restore their marriages.  My caseload usually increased in February, which was the coldest, most restrictive month, and stayed high until weather became reliably milder.  I know that this time of crisis may not give everyone a desire for continued closeness.

Perhaps some will like and want more closeness, and will find ways to keep it for ourselves when we return to “normal.”

Income support

As the Canadian governments provide ever more income supports in a variety of ways, I speak frequently with friends who own businesses.  They are concerned about lost customers, continued rent for their offices and warehouses, how long they can pay their employees and how they can reduce their exposure to disease, business and property taxes, whether their suppliers can stay in business, and their own families and friends.  Employees worry about whether they can stay employed and not risk the disease, while still paying their home and family expenses, rents, taxes, and so on.

We are seeing an entirely new level of government willingness to financially support all these, and it has happened incredibly fast. Some people get support because they lost lost their jobs due to COVID.  Others who had already been unemployed before COVID, realize that getting a job now is unlikely, and suggest that they should receive the same support.

People on welfare, and on disability supports, seeing that their incomes are exceeded by these new allowances (although for shorter times, so far), wonder why they are not eligible as well.  They suspect they are poorly regarded.  Long have we arranged government support for varieties of people, but only the poorest are judged so much, and receive the least.  And that begrudgingly.  It’s almost as if someone wants to keep them poor, and never give them enough support to actually leap over the barriers of low income, poor shelter and poor health.

Perhaps as we increase our government support in so many new ways, we will cross this final barrier, and provide really effective aid to those who have been neglected so long.

Better politicians (Canada)

Astonished, we are seeing Canadian politicians work together across provincial and provincial/federal boundaries, as well as across parties (while keeping the institutional responsibilities of the Loyal Opposition to oppose and critique).  We see them defer to experts in epidemiology and other sciences.  We may see politics change in our future.  The usual self-serving platitudes and assurances have given way to presentations by people who know.

Perhaps this heralds the death of the political campaigns and pledges based on ideology, or saying whatever will attract votes.  We are accustomed to watching newly elected governments announce that they hadn’t realized how bad the books really were; cut back on expenses because they don’t meet the political “base’s” values; or increase expenses for the same reasons.  We are accustomed to politicians not really knowing what they are talking about.  They must be tutored by civil servants about what really can and cannot be done.

Of course we musn’t let politicians avoid the responsibilities of government decisions by only deferring to their staffs and experts.  We must expect them to learn quickly, especially those who begin office with deep understanding of their responsibilities through careers in relevant fields.  We want politicians to initiate long range planning, and long-running projects to continue in governments of the future, regardless of party.

We want individual politicians to bring to government their own, individual knowledge as well as their support for the platforms of the party and the government.  We want them to examine party and government with discerning eye, critique what is being offered by others in all parties, including the leaders.  We cannot afford their following the leader blindly in this age of growing authoritarianism. We want office-holders, both appointed and elected, to have demonstrated personal, career, and community-service accomplishments.

We want the parliamentary question periods and debates to be genuine, not scripted bafflegab written to keep them “on message.”  We want parliamentary committees to do work worthy of the sum of their abilities, rather than be charade exercises quoting scripts written by the prime ministerial staff.  We want an end to omnibus bills, too large to be comprehended.  We want legislation to be passed only if it has merit, not simply because there are enough votes.  (In recent weeks a minority federal government, tried to get a small number {because of the pandemic} parliamentarians to vote on some bills without seeing them at all).

We are seeing that it is possible to have inspiring, nimble, almost a-partisan, government and politics.  There is no reason to return to what has been normal.

I am sure that thoughts like these have occurred to everybody. I think we should say aloud at every possible opportunity, what we don’t want to lose; what we want changed; and what we want to keep among the many changes we experience now.  Let us remember, preserve, and perpetuate the good things.

 

 

 

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