What if we actually don't care about "the children?"
And by "we" I mostly mean the party that calls itself pro-family and pro-life.
Survey says: Kids are expendable
Forgive me if I go dark This Week-ish.
I started my Monday morning by watching this devastating PSA from SandyHook Promise:
It’s shattering. And I hope you watch it anyway.
I forget who first said it, but you hear it often: When the killing of more than twenty 6- and 7-year-olds couldn’t guarantee progress on gun control and gun safety laws, nothing could.
And now. Now we have COVID, increasingly a pandemic of the unvaccinated, a large proportion of whom are kids who cannot get vaccinated. I’ve been tracking my county’s COVID numbers on the daily for 18 months now. My county now has more than 82% of its eligible population fully vaxxed, and almost 87% of that population with at least one dose. And yet the Delta variant has seen our case rate and positivity rate climb too. Eventually, the county started breaking out the new case rate by vaccination status. Unsurprisingly our still relatively low new case rate was driven by the fact that so much of our county is vaccinated, and when you broke it out you could see that the unvaxxed folks’ new case rate was approaching 6x the new case rate of the vaxxed.
Last week I noticed they added a new line to the graph. How many of those new cases amongst the unvaccinated were kids 11 and younger. Kids too young to be vaccinated. Kids who had and have still no choice?
And this in a county that has been very conservative and restricted all along, with an incredibly high vaccination rate. It appears that nationwide kids only make up 20% of new cases, but that’s because so many adults are unvaccinated and still getting COVID.
500,000 kids have been diagnosed with COVID in the past two weeks alone, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.
So, forgive me if I look askance at a certain group of people in this country who consider trans kids in sports to be some dire threat to kids that requires immediate action, but will not act on these two very public health crises of gun violence and COVID. (And don’t even get me started on the fact that Texas won’t require a 13-year-old to wear a mask but will force her to have a baby.)
Meanwhile, while my state has recently passed a law to make school lunch free for ALL kids (yay to ending stigma and guaranteeing well-nourished kids), officials in a Wisconsin county ended its free lunch program altogether, afraid families will “get spoiled.” Demonizing low-income families is still a favorite sport to some.
I. just. can’t.
I’ll close by saying that recently I attended an event where a lifelong foreign service officer (i.e. a U.S. diplomat) who had spent his career in the Middle East shared his frank thoughts about the region. And he said that he thought the days of the kind of large-scale actions we took in Iraq or Afghanistan (or Korea or Vietnam for that matter) were likely mostly over because the threats look different today. That risk to Americans overseas will look more like many incidents involving harm to a handful of Americans. He stated that the American people will still want future Administrations to go after any organization (or nation) that is taking out five Americans here or six Americans there, but that will lead to a new strategic, surgical approach to protecting our citizens and our interests.
All I could wonder was: Do you really think the country is going to care about five or six dead Americans here and there? We can’t seem to care about more than 650,000 dead in the past 18 months right here at home. We can’t seem to care about losing a 9/11’s worth of Americans every two days right now.
And by “we” I still mostly mean members of the political faction that pretends it’s pro-life and pro-family and who probably posted some red, white, and blue BS this weekend to commemorate 9/11.
If I sound angry, I am.
They say depression is anger turned inward, so I’m actually trying to keep mine front, center, and pointed outwards. The alternative is despair, I think. And there is just too much to do to feel despair.
So, yes, this is a dark edition of This Week-ish. We’re all allowed that once in a while. Feel free to leave a comment with your dark thoughts. Next edition I’ll try to bring some light.
In Episode 65 of The Op-Ed Page podcast, I recount my experience traveling (by car) for the first time in 18 months, spending the night outside my home, and convening with a group that wasn’t my family. In the end, I was super glad I went, and I thought how this event handled COVID safety and protocols was an excellent model for other events. I still don’t know when I’ll be ready to hop on a plane, but this was a good first step. It also made me think about the fact that, yes, being with people in person leads to some really positive and energizing outcomes, but it’s typically exactly because you’re outside your day-to-day work environment and routine. Those CEOs who are saying their companies can’t truly innovate or collaborate remotely (and BTW, your workforce says “gee thanks for the vote of confidence in how we’ve been busting our ass to make things work these past 18 months”) should consider how to adjust their thinking to create employee “events” in a way that stimulates and excites people, without forcing them into the daily commutes and in-office environments that stifle them, and that they do not want to return to.
Also last week: I announced the two new projects I’m working on…one of which you may be able to contribute to!
I was excited to announce that I’m part of a new advisory council to Pearl Milling Company (the brand formerly known as Aunt Jemima) as they roll out the P.E.A.R.L. Pledge. The Pledge is their multi-year commitment to support organizations that uplift Black women and girls, and they’re giving out the first million dollars this year. I did some advisory work with them last year as they considered new names, and I was thrilled to be invited back to advise on selecting the grant recipients for 2021. They’ll be announcing those recipients soon, and in the coming weeks, I’ll be spotlighting some of them. I explain more about the Pledge and its pillars and criteria over on my IGTV here.
I just started a five-month editor-in-residence gig with The Rosie Report. I explain all about it here (if you can’t access the link, let me know, and I’ll send the full copy). Basically, I’m looking for diverse voices to spotlight who have something to say about the #futureofwork. Email me at my new fancy wearerosie.com email address to pitch, and I can give you more info.
Finally. Saturday, you probably know, was the 20th anniversary of 9/11. I don’t go in much for watching or reading media about 9/11. I was there, but not there, in midtown Manhattan, far from Ground Zero. In 2004 I captured my day-by-day memories, so I wouldn’t forget the small details. Every year I share these memories again. I was just a regular person on the outskirts of a national moment of tragedy. A moment filled with horror and an aftermath where that horror continued, but sometimes our humanity did shine through. It’s just my story. You’re welcome to read it:
20 years ago on September 10: I was thinking “this is the best trip I’ve had to NYC in years!”
20 years ago on September 11: My bed was packed and sitting on my hotel bed.
20 years ago on September 12: I was one of many turned away at the blood donor station, and a cat’s meow has haunted me ever since.
20 years ago on September 13: I was starting to get starved for human contact.
20 years ago on September 15: Escape from New York.
Where were you?
Coming this week-ish
This week I’m just trying to get some work done and biting my fingernails about the California Gubernatorial recall. There’s no way the recall should go through, but polls aren’t votes, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned in these past couple of decades, Democratic voters aren’t always great at showing up to midterm, off-year, and special elections. Since 2018 we’ve proven we can indeed come through, so I’m just hoping that continues to be the case here in 2021.
And if I can help you break through the things that are keeping you stuck, set up your first introductory 30-minute consult for free by booking it in my Calendly