Due to multiple reasons (cough*Trump*cough), the unemployment rate went to almost 15% in April, and – while it is still on a ventilator, currently – seems to be moderately improving at a bouncy 12.9% in my state (NC) and 11.1% for the country. With so many people having to leave their employment due to COVID-19, you’d think there would be scads of job openings right now! Oh, wait – there’s a flaw in my logic there, somewhere, I just can’t seem to name it.
The numbers are important to number crunchers who – generally speaking – are employed in very well paying, safe positions not requiring them to have face-to-face contact with a virulently germy populace on the reg. The actual decisions and actual repercussions from them, however, are made and felt by people who are not so lucky.
I’m apparently returning to the classroom this fall – not in a full time, permanent position, but remaining as an adjunct at both CPCC and Queens. Ordinarily this would make me really happy – both Queens and CPCC are doing some exciting work that’s going to force me to learn new things and undertake new approaches I’m not yet comfortable with, and I remain convinced that this is the best way to improve your pedagogy and practice. However – the idea of being in a classroom, face to face, with a group of individuals who might be tripped up by the simple idea that wearing a mask, while uncomfortable, is urgent and required, terrifies me.
I mean, there are legit people who are not swayed by this video, and to them, I have no idea what to say.
I realize that I am so incredibly privileged – I can work from home when the inevitable happens (when one or more of my family members contract COVID, or when I do, or when the schools ultimately realize that this is a fool’s errand) and I live in an area where my physical danger of contracting the virus is very limited. I am frightened to absolute paralysis when I think about the decisions that face people of color, parents all over, and anyone who is working as a health care provider. Decisions that we, the privileged folk, can take for granted (“Should I enter that building where I see loads of people milling about without masks?”) are not available to so many others because of poverty (yes, a great approach to this problem is to cut off emergency unemployment payments! Well, except for the massive ones to the big companies and billionaires who wouldn’t know a day of work if it coughed in their faces).
Between the pandemic and the failed interview I had recently, I’ve been wracking my brain trying to come up with some decent employment for myself that wouldn’t (a) kill me or (b) cause me to have no income at all. Fortunately, I have the help of one Ivanka Trump who has helpfully suggested that I and many other lazy folk just #findsomethingnew. WHY DIDN’T I THINK OF THIS BEFORE??
Obviously, the best thing to do is to choose to be born to a wealthy family. Now I have to figure out how, exactly, I do that.
Following that, I have to choose to be gifted a position or twelve with in one of my wealthy family’s businesses/grifting opportunities. It’s a breeze – I sure wish I had had Ivanka around to educate me on this earlier in life.
All smoking sarcasm aside – where the actual fuck do people get the idea that any of these Trumps are functioning from a standpoint of helping others? Has anyone – normal anyone, I mean, versus evil anyone, like Roger Stone – ever been helped out by Trump? Sure, if you’re a racist and you want to be free to spout your vile beliefs all over the internet, yeah, you’re probably feeling pretty warm and cuddly towards these people.
I’m consistently and constantly horrified and mesmerized when people who receive more harm than good from his policies go out and actively support his presidency. I’m also very familiar with the argument that we have to understand and reach out to people with whom we disagree. Rhetorician, remember?
That’s a struggle for me – an epic struggle. A struggle so massive that it should have scrolling text appearing up the screen, providing a history of the issue, whenever I think about it (Sorry. Couldn’t help it.)
My training – both home and university – teaches that punching someone in the face is a poor rhetorical (and human) choice. I am, however, human. Someone suggesting to me, via hashtag, that I simply choose another opportunity (because, you know, they’re falling from the sky! They’re everywhere – LIKE GERMS) infuriates me not just for me, but for my students, for people I don’t even know, for anyone who isn’t able to pull a Scrooge McDuck like these entitled assholes.