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The Lessons We Must Learn From History By Mark Lampkin

As we American’s are seeking to better understand and navigate what is taking place in our community, state and nation in large part because of the necessary social distancing from the spreading of the COVID19 virus, I wonder what we are learning through it all. For those who have taken this time to read, research, and understand that this is not the first pandemic to envelop the globe, how are you approaching it?

Are you in denial that it is a real threat to you, your family, and co-workers? Just because we cannot see it, does it not exist? Have you discussed this with your loved ones? Do they understand the connections that exist between our immune systems and its role in defending us against viruses?

In April, we have seen in various American cities people protesting at their respective state capitols. They are in denial that this is a real threat. They suggest that their rights are being infringed upon…and that they should have the right to choose how they live. Some even follow the foolishness of Donald Trump and say it’s a hoax. They seem to not understand that their choices may unconsciously spell the demise and death of someone else. There is no doubt that these are people who get their information from Fox news and have not had someone they love succumb to this stealth virus.

If you have not already done so, please research the pandemic of 1918, called the Spanish flu, which actually began at a pig farm in Kansas. It spread throughout the world via the United States military personnel, killing 50 million people. It then spread through Europe, as we were embroiled in WW1 and then moved without resistance to all corners of the globe. No social media. No television. No way to warn others what was happening. That is not our lives today. We have access to the TRUTH.

We know what is happening half a world away within minutes. We can do research and determine what is truth versus propaganda. We can CHOOSE. Or not. However, ignorance has its consequences. We see and hear that with each Trump media session.

I am prayerful that this historical moment will give us the opportunity to pause and reflect on what is really important. Do we really need to glorify celebrities, athletes, and those who step on everyone to attain billionaire status? Do we really need access to every shopping opportunity seven days a week? Some of us are old enough to recall a time when most stores were closed on Sundays. And we either shopped on Saturday or waited until Monday. No one perished because they had to wait. We made it through – WOW!

In the past two weeks, we have seen data that confirms how Black and Brown people are dying at a higher rate than Whites from COVID-19. This is a reminder of how our society has remained separate but unequal, in a regular scenario, but is EVEN MORE pronounced in a time when this pandemic is wiping out large segments of OUR communities. Might this help to cause you/me/us to re-examine the conversation about Universal Health care for ALL? Why? I am glad that you asked.

Imagine that you or a family member are stricken by the COVID-19 virus, and want to seek care at the local emergency department. Yet, you are not employed full-time with benefits, and thus, have to consider how much this life-saving visit is going to cost. So, you decide to wait it out…and your loved one dies. All because you and I live in a nation that has a for-profit system of health care versus one that is provided regardless of ability to pay. That is what is actually happening right now in the wealthiest nation on Earth.

In conclusion, maybe Mother Earth is giving us the chance to learn the history lesson. Will we have studied in order to be prepared for the test? Or will we be those arrogant humans who profess our superiority and boast of our genius to dominate? The arrogant humans who refused to change, and thus, became extinct.