If one works for a living and are on the front lines having to show up for work during this
coronavirus crisis you don’t have to be religious to identify with the Easter story in which Jesus,
was betrayed by Judas, not because God deemed it so, but because of money!
Some thought of the bosses (Judas) as their friend, some thought the company (Judas) cared
about them, many assumed they had a contract with the government, even the president (Judas):
you pay them taxes and allegiance, provide them underpaid and cheap labor with few benefits
and it in turn provides some basic needs (well at least free K-12 education) and physical
Except it is not protecting you, during this pandemic it has actually betrayed you. Consequently, this may go down as one of the worst betrayals of a people since the US Reconstruction after slavery (How else would one categorize it?) Even after the coronavirus had begun to take a firm hold in the US in late February a large percentage of the US working class was forced to work—unprotected—after it was clear that this virus was contagious and potentially deadly. Even with lives literally on the line, the capitalists chose profit first.
Workers had a choice some will say. But did they? The capitalists put a symbolic and figurative
pistol to the heads of lots of our fellow Americans. These soul-less corporate thugs forced
workers into a kind of “Sophie’s choice,” stay home and risk starving and eventual homelessness
or go to work and risk your life.
Workers got drafted and were sent to the front; unarmed, unprepared and underpaid. And unlike
Jesus they didn’t get as much as a kiss! They are culling the herd right in front of us
Make any excuse you want, but the naked unadulterated truth is the owners of the
health care systems, the corporate grocery stores, including Walmart, Krogers, Winn Dixie,
Trader Joes, Albertsons, Cub Foods, Hy-Vee to name just a few, the Amazon’s, the Smithfield’s,
even local transit operators along with the rulers of this country don’t give a damn. How else to
explain putting their workers on the front lines without PPE (personal protective equipment) which
includes face shields, masks, gloves, aprons, and even gowns.
What else explains their foot-dragging? What else explains the number of infected health care workers who have contracted the virus?
Buzzfeed News reported that 5,400 doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers have
contracted COVID-19 and that dozens around the country have died.
It’s all about the Benjamins! New York governor Andrew Cuomo described his efforts to
purchase ventilators for hospitals in the state. “You now literally will have a company call you
up and say, ‘Well, California just outbid you.’ It’s like being on eBay with 50 other states,
bidding on a ventilator.”
And of course, nothing stops racism—which may be the greatest American betrayal—absolutely
nothing, not disease or even the threat of death: absolutely nothing. Suspicions may lead one to
surmise that the last word out of the mouth of a White Supremacist before they draw their last
breath is a racial epithet.
Consequently, it is unlikely Asian America is feeling like the favored minority, but feeling well:
betrayed. White folks are no longer smiling at them, symbolically rubbing their heads. Of course
to their credit, many conscious Asian brothers and sisters have been trying to hip their community
to this for a while. They shouldn’t be so hard to convince after this. There are reports of as many as 100 incidents of verbal and even physical harassment aimed at our Asian American brothers
and sisters, daily!
While our heads are turned watching the damage being done to the country and our fellow
human beings, for good measure the US Supreme Court has quietly betrayed our most
fundamental rights. In one ruling, they underhandedly gave the police a bit more lee-way in
making what are in essence, unjustified nuisance stops. And for good measure, they literally took
away some Wisconsinites right to vote by declaring their mail-in ballots invalid.
Betrayal is the order of the day as the Dem-I-cant’s and the Republi-crats both were to blame for
putting voters at risk in Illinois and Florida two weeks ago and Wisconsin last Tuesday. And
DNC Chairperson Tom Perez can stop with the phony complaints; their refusing to delay their
primary betrayed the very people they hope to represent by putting them in the potential path of
the deadly COVID-19.
And what good would a crisis in the US be without hurting Black folks? Black folks are dying in
disproportionate numbers and unfortunately even now, too many are not taking this seriously,
some are still calling it a hoax while others are blaming it on 5G and the tooth fairy.
The New York Times astutely observed, “For many public health experts, the reasons behind the
disparities are not difficult to explain, the result of longstanding structural inequalities. At a time
when the authorities have advocated staying home as the best way to avoid the virus, Black
Americans disproportionately belong to part of the workforce that does not have the luxury of
working from home, experts said. That places them at high risk for contracting the highly
infectious disease in transit or at work.”
Barack Obama was wrong when he pronounced that, there is no Black America, no Latin
America, no Asian America, no working-class America, no poor America, just America and he is
wrong now. It does not appear we are all in this together, in fact, it is clear that a large part of
America has been, “had” “sold out,” took,” “bamboozled,” “hoodwinked,” just plain betrayed!
And no, Trump didn’t betray anyone. Folks with good sense knew he was an incompetent, egomaniacal hustler! And Bernie Sanders didn’t sell anyone out by leaving the presidential race.
Folks paying attention were well aware that the avowed rebel outsider always had one foot stuck
firmly on the inside. In the words of my old friend Denny Green,” They were who we thought
Now that the masks are off, shields down, curtains open, the facade removed and all pretense by
the bosses and rulers to human concern, decency, empathy, and compassion exposed, it is time to
put down the flag, close the fairy tale and turn off the programming and promise ourselves that
if we live through this, we will make them pay.
justice then peace.
Mel Reeves was the community editor at the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder until he passed away on January 6, 2022. He had a long and storied history working at the MSR.
Find more about Reeve’s life and legacy here: spokesman-recorder.com/category/remembering-mel-reeves.