In the midst of the pandemic, with the death toll rising, there are insistent calls to reopen the economy and get back to work, to reopen schools so parents can leave home to go to work, to return to business as usual. The president himself has encouraged his supporters to “liberate” their states (but only in states with Democratic governors) from restrictions meant to save lives. Recently a large number of armed men, many carrying not only guns but Trump insignia, barged into the Michigan State Capitol to demand an end to the emergency restrictions whose purpose is to slow the transmission of the virus. These are the same people who oppose abortion and noisily claim to be pro-life.

Our reader GregB. explored this paradox in his comment:

The quote that has most impacted me and that I hold sacred does not come from a theological text, it comes from the most profound writer of whom I am aware, Friedrich Dürrenmatt: “The fate of humanity depends upon if Politics finally becomes comfortable to take every life as sacred, or if the whore decides to continue to go on the street to service anything that is not sacred. The lady must decide.” (“Der Schiksal der Menschen wird davon abhängen, ob sich die Politik endlich bequemt, das Leben eines jeden heilig zu nehmen, oder ob die Hure weiterhin für jene auf die Straße geht, denen nichts heilig ist. Die Dame muß sich entscheiden.”)

Do we, as liberals, equivocate? Are we as people who value the education of each individual, no matter their exceptional, individual skills, talents or potential, no matter their disabilities, no matter anything, ready to equivocate and rationalize according to our fears, prejudices or misconceptions? If we are, then how is that better or different from the Nazi T4 program that forcibly took children and adults with developmental disabilities from their families to be executed? If we are willing to rationalize and accept this pandemic with willful ignorance to consign children, or at the very least, children who will never suffer the effects of disease but may still transmit it to others, most likely elderly persons or those with systemic immunodeficiencies; is that the acceptable trade-off to “restart the economy?” If yes, then we are truly whores of the worst kind, willing to let anyone die if it alleviates our short-term economic pain, even if it means our economic livelihoods? Are we pro-humanity or pro-life in the literal sense that our societal obligations end with births carried to term?

Or do we ask fundamental questions about why those who have great wealth continue, who live only on capital and dividends, who don’t work or make the effort, however it may manifest itself, to avoid contributing effectively to the greater good with taxes (like public school teachers) with progressive taxation, actually defines and reflects the times, or off of well-paying clients with narrow, selfish hoarding interests continue paying apparatchiks of the status quo to work in their favor? It seems to me, the American lady must decide. In my opinion, she is and always will be a whore who will continue to serve lazy capital and authoritarian power. The most discouraging thing is that few, if any, understand this, which is why they continue to devalue life, which, for them are only political pawns they call fetuses. The glacial reality of now informs me that scapegoating and rationalizing death is as strong as it has ever been in any age of fascist ascendancy. Is the life of each living being sacred or not? Persons, not fetuses for fertilized eggs. It is we who live who pay the economic price, like it or not.