Will We Learn, or Just Return?

“I’m getting sick of this virus!” the six-year-old said, stamping her little sandals, while the adults wryly chuckled over the ambiguity in her expostulation.

Getting back to normal is what she wants. And it’s what so many of us want. The coronavirus has proved to be terrifying, and irritating, and threatening, and inconveniencing, and fascinating, and boring. Enough already.

It would be a shame, however, if when this wave recedes we all simply returned to first position. For the global stress of this pandemic has brought to the surface elements of a “normal” that ought never to have been tolerated, let alone yearned for.

We are learning how bad our eldercare is—and the people we have entrusted with their care. Exposés have come and gone and yet still we warehouse them with undertrained and underpaid staff, drug them into compliance, and fail to give them proper hospice care in their darkest hours. How dare we go back to “normal”?

We are learning how overtaxed our healthcare systems are. News reports have come and gone, and yet we still allow healthcare officials to run inefficient systems that leave patients in hallways and “elective” surgeries—like badly needed joint replacements—languishing for months. How dare we go back to “normal”?

We are learning how clueless our politicians can be. We’ve known about their deficits and demerits all along, but the crisis has brought to the fore the obtuse self-centredness of narcissists who love campaigning but have no idea how to govern, let alone to truly lead. How dare we go back to “normal”?

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