By Dr. Issa Muhammad (Vibert White)
The coronavirus has gripped the United States as no other force has done in her history. This unique flu-like disease has disrobed our economic, political, social and health system as a boisterous emperor with limited ideas and little bite. Within three weeks of the first person being infected in the state of Washington, the stock market plummeted to record lows, while over 3.5 million people applied for unemployment claims due to the closing of thousands of businesses. In addition, the world has witnessed that our healthcare system is in disarray and our political leaders from the local, state and federal levels are inept in dealing with life and death issues that are related to the American community. The question—is not how did we got to this point? But, rather; what does it mean to the American family?
The average American family now can see their demise and an end to the fabled dreams of Americana. For example, the proud husband and father of two children who live in a gated community in the suburbs. Has lost his job because the “virus” has forced the business that he worked for to close. His 401K has disappeared with the stock market. The family’s ability to drive a nice car and to take family vacations to Bermuda, Madrid and Du Bai, was covered up by the ability to get credit; an ability that not extended to all Americans equally. Thus, the image of having a large bank account was an illusion that was envied by the American underclass. The global pandemic has revealed that most Americans have less than $2000 in their bank account and just live outside the rim of economic ruin. These proud American strangely a few weeks earlier looked down their elite noses to less fortunate Americans who suffered and wondered in unemployment and homelessness. They arrogantly ignored the panhandler, and scolded their unfortunate neighbor by calling them lazy, drug addicts, and street whores. Now, many of these so-called uppity citizens are on the verge of poverty themselves.
In reference to health care. We laughed at the Canadians, Europeans, and South Americans who offered universal health care. We called their systems as being socialistic and inferior. We openly rejoiced in saying that we had the best doctors, nurses, hospitals and that we are well equipped to handle any emergency that is thrown our way. Well, Coronavirus has illustrated that our system is broken. We cannot produce enough medical test kits to examine the population that are susceptible to the virus; many of the kits that we have are faulty. California—our most populated state is in an emergency crisis because they lack kits that could test and possibly save many lives. In this light, Governor Cuomo of New York has highlighted the lack of ventilators that is needed to help the ill in New York City. When the President Trump boastfully offered to send to NY 4000 machines; the Italian American governor shouted back at his former New York neighbor and friend; that “We have 30,000 sick people; which 4000 people are you going to choose who lives?” If that is not enough—nurses, physicians and other healthcare professionals are complaining that they do not even have enough protective mask to shield them from COVID-19. Openly—these brave professionals are risking their lives because their institutions, state and federal system lack personal protective equipment (PPE) to treat patients adequately. On March 28th, Dr. Ming Lin—a doctor in the emergency room spoke out against PeaceHealth of New York, St. Joseph Medical Center in not having enough equipment on national TV. Immediately, he was sent a text informing him that he was fired. Enough said for his truthful statement. Currently, there are hundreds of nurses and doctors who are treating patients while they carry the coronavirus illness.
Now, while the United States is void of reliable and enough basic machines to treat coronavirus patients; we do not have the personnel to meet the task of tackling the virus. In the past few days’ hospitals, medical schools, mayors and governors have called for retired nurses, and doctors to rejoin the health force as a national emergency. Still, if you do not believe that our health system is inefficient; nothing has been said to help the most vulnerable populations like the homeless. There are millions of Americans who live on the streets; no place to go; nowhere to go to wash their bodies. In addition, COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire among our prison population. Simple statement—without helping this population stopping the spread of the virus is a comical dream.
For months political and corporate leaders bragged about the U.S low unemployment numbers. Individuals gleamed saying the productivity and vibrant strength of the economy is historic. However, a couple of weeks into the crisis our leaders, and the American populist sung another tune. This one was: how am I going to pay my bills, mortgage, car note? For the first time since the Great Depression in the 1930s—Americans as a group saw themselves as being economically vulnerable. The weakness of the American community in this crisis has caused a rash of suicides, domestic conflict and a rush on bankruptcy attorneys.
However, there is a dimmed light of hope in this affair. It is the revival of the American family. The pillar of one’s community, society, and nation lie within the family. E. Franklin Frazier, a great scholar of the 1940s stated, that the destruction of the American family is the nexus for the negation of the American community. But, because of the extensive lockdown of American citizens. That is, local, state and federal mandates for individuals to stay home. American families can recreate our broken society; by amending the family system.
Many families for the first time in years are eating regular meals together. At breakfast, lunch and dinner they are speaking about family matters, religion, the state of our nation. They are mending, forgiving and uniting in a manner that will give them the tools to maneuver around Corvaid-19.
For couples—husbands and wives are seeing each other for the first time since their wedding. That is, seeing the love that brought them together. Instead of being mere roommates for eight hours a night. They are speaking, sharing space, and falling in love all over again.
In reference to our children. Circumstances has forced parents to really parent their children. We are creating family time; in-house curriculum, and seeing the good, bad and the ugly of our offspring. The virus has created an avenue that many have attempted to bypass; that is, to teach our children. To guide them with the fundamentals of civility, decency, and respect.
Within these areas of discovery, we have also reinforced concepts of spirituality and religion. Regardless—if a family practiced a doctrine of Islam, Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Vodun, Santeria or Candomblé; the structure of respect to God, nature, family and your neighbors are the pillars of universal spiritualism. Thus, the troubled times that were forced upon us are dictating a return to our humanitarian roots of truth, humility, and a rededication to God.
So yes — the pandemic is a terrible crisis. Indeed, many have and will die from the virus. But the silver lining is that we will conquer the crisis; while a better America will develop from the bottom up; from the roots of our family.
The Coronavirus: Rebuilding the American Family
By Dr. Issa Muhammad (Vibert White)