Our Sophie’s Choice

The term “food insecurity” is cropping up more and more these days, as unemployment levels rise and food lines grow longer. For me, food insecurity occurs when I can’t find anything to eat in the cupboards or fridge, except things I have to cook.

But for many others these days, food insecurity is when there’s nothing in the cupboards or fridge, and they don’t know when they’ll eat their next meal. It’s when kids tell their parents there’s nothing to eat, and they’re not exaggerating.

A recent study indicates that nearly one in five children in the U.S. are now going hungry, as a result of lockdowns and high unemployment. That’s about 13 million young Americans. Their out-of-work parents simply don’t have enough food to feed them. Food banks are strained, and with schools closed, many kids don’t have school lunch programs to help fill their bellies.

According to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, our current unemployment level is probably around 25%, or nearly double the official figure. And it’s still rising. So it makes sense that food insecurity is becoming an issue. When people can’t work, they find it difficult to eat.

So let’s face it, our economy has gone to hell in a handbasket. I think it’s safe to say that we’re in a depression. I know I feel depressed. And I still have enough to eat.

But not everyone is feeling depressed, according to some conservatives. They claim that our self-destructing economy is great news for liberals. They accuse liberals of cheering on and facilitating this depression, because liberals believe a bad economy will keep Trump from being reelected.

It’s as if liberals have become kamikazes in their effort to sink the big, bloated battleship, U.S.S. Trump.

I find this a fascinating theory. It’s highly partisan, of course, and designed to inflame conservative passion against liberals. But I wonder if there’s any truth to it? I also wonder if it’s not such a bad idea.

I’ve noticed what seems to be glee in the tone of some liberal pundits, when discussing our plummeting economy. And it seems to me that it’s liberals who are most resistant to opening up the economy, with the rallying cry, “Choose lives over the economy!”

And yet, ironically, some lives are in danger of starvation as a result of choosing lives over the economy. Incredibly, here in America, this is actually happening. Right now at this moment, millions of children in our country are suffering from malnutrition because of lockdowns and business closures. So are we really choosing lives over the economy, or are we choosing something else?

Are American children going hungry due to our fear of the coronavirus, or our hatred of Trump? Are we trying to keep from getting sick? Are we worried about old people dying in rest homes? Or do we want so badly for Trump to lose reelection that we’re willing to sacrifice the lives of children, our economy, our livelihoods, and our civil liberties, to convince voters to oust him this November?

And even if we are trying to keep from getting sick, and prevent old people from dying, is that worth starving millions of children?

What if ending the coronavirus restrictions resulted in a rebounding economy and four more years of Trump, along with a second wave of infections? Would that be better than continuing the restrictions, where children continue to starve, but Trump is defeated, and a second wave is prevented?

It’s one hell of a dilemma. It’s kind of a Sophie’s Choice, in my view. After all, Trump’s belligerence and incompetency could easily plunge us into nuclear war if he’s reelected. And that would be far worse than a great depression. But to prevent his victory in November, and prevent a second wave, we must continue our descent into poverty and immiseration, while allowing millions more children to starve.

I believe this is the most crucial question we face in this crisis:

Which poison is the least toxic?

What would be our best Sophie’s Choice?

Categories: coronavirus

292 replies »

    • It’s a good point. Democrats are saying that the reason we’ve had to resort to lockdowns is because we weren’t equipped to respond quickly enough to the virus. But the lockdowns have resulted in skyrocketing unemployment and hunger, and we’re apparently not equipped to handle that, either. And so we’re stuck in this dilemma.
      Socialist programs would very likely help, but they have to be in place first, and that can take a lot of time. Perhaps it’s a lesson we MIGHT learn for the future, if we can overcome our bias against socialism, but as for this moment it doesn’t seem practical, in my view.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. It’s a mess, Tippy, you’re right about that. People need to be working, not just to have the money to buy things, but for there to be anything to buy. Farmers are euthanizing animals, throwing away produce and milk, because processing plants are closed. Stopping people’s unemployment to force them to go back to work in close quarters in factories crawling with germs seems cruel. And how can they return to work when schools and day cares are still shuttered? What are they supposed to do with their kids? Our schools have continued the meal program–parents can pick up brown bag breakfasts and lunches for their kids, but they have to come every day and wait in line. Local folks have organized a system where people can donate food or request assistance. Churches offer drive-through suppers and deliver hot meals to the elderly. It is a network of grass roots efforts that does its best but undoubtedly has a lot of holes and can’t continue at this pace indefinitely. Open to ideas, but we’re walking a thin line. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Walking a thin line says it well. Local charities can help some, but with 25% unemployment, many will be left out.

      Perhaps one positive is that we’ve had an obesity crisis with children, so maybe some of the children going hungry could do well to shed a few pounds. But hopefully the crisis will be over before they shed too many pounds.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s an interesting perspective. When one considers the long term effects of the current business closures and lay-offs; the deferrals of rent/lease/mortgage payments; the government handouts, and subsidies to certain industries, and our whole perspective on a typical day with COVID-19 … one must conclude that there will be no “:magic switch” which is going to bring us back to where we were. The mortgage companies will eventually want some income, but in many cases it will not be available. Tenants who are still out of work will be dealing with landlords who also have financial obligations to meet. The laws of supply and demand will increase our cost of living to the point where our standard of living will fall. All you need to add to the mix are politicians who are self-serving and independently wealthy, and enough gun-toting hot-heads …. and chaos will likely reign. It will be interesting! 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Not that I want to agree, but I do think you are right about chaos reigning! I think that there are many that believe in that “magic switch”, that everything can instantly go back to normal once everything is opened up again. If only it was that easy!

      Liked by 4 people

      • I doubt there’s a magic switch, but I’m hoping things will return to some level of normalcy fairly quickly. I’ve noticed when businesses reopen, they tend to be swamped with customers, so maybe that’s a good sign.

        Liked by 1 person

    • It’s definitely a recipe for chaos. I’ve wondered about landlords and how they’re faring. After all, when you can’t collect rent, you’re less likely to keep your rentals maintained. That will cause the standard of living to decline for renters. Landlords may also be less likely to rent to those with “nonessential” jobs, and so they face the risk of homelessness or having to pay higher rent.
      The self-serving politicians and gun-toting hot heads are also wild cards who could throw us into chaos. I have a lot of sympathy for the anti-lockdown protesters who just want to return to work, until I see them accompanied by gun-toting protesters. Then it all starts looking scary.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Okay, now that the tears are out of my eyes I can comment! Next time put in bold print Warning this video clip is a Tear Jerker!
    You do make good points thwt I sadly have to agree with. Wish I had a magic answer!
    I will say that our schools here have kept the free lunch program going which I was glad to see!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A tough post to read, but reality. All I can say is that we can’t do everything at our level, but we can do something….donate to your local foodbanks; I know this doesn’t resolve the big problem, but at least we are feeding someone(s).

    Liked by 3 people

  5. As an old person who, to paraphraseTrump’s words, is going to die soon enough anyway, I’ll skip the political rhetoric. I would like to say, however, that hubby and I recently went through our stock of pandemic supplies and realized we had more than we could ever use, so we donated a couple of boxes of non-perishables to the church next door for their food pantry. This morning, the pastor told me that this week the pantry saw the biggest number of needy people than they’ve ever had. And this is in a good suburban neighborhood. These are people who never in their lives thought they would have to visit a food pantry to feed their children. Reopening the economy is probably a good thing, but it must be done slowly and in stages to prevent a resurgence in the epidemic. I think it’s being done the right way here in New York, but we’ll know within the next couple of weeks if the staged reopening does the trick.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ll bet it feels nice to know that donation did some good.
      Last I heard, the Buffalo area was still under lockdown, while most of the rest of upstate New York was opening up. I hope soon you’ll get out of jail and be able to return to some semblance of normality.


      • As of this morning, the Western New York region as met 6 of the 7 metrics to reopen. The only thing missing is enough contact tracers, which should be resolved in the next day or so. At that point, we will start to open, in phases.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Wouldn’t it be lousy luck if the day your region opened up, a contact tracer came to your house and said you were exposed to someone with the coronavirus, and now you have to self-isolate for 14 days? What a letdown that would be.
          Don’t answer the door.


          • Don’t think I haven’t thought of that, Tippy. While I hope never to be exposed to the virus, I’d be ok with an additional 14-day quarantine since I really don’t want to go back to work. If I could afford to, I’d stay home regardless.

            Liked by 1 person

            • I hope you’re not exposed, either. Although being exposed is one thing, and catching it is another. If I’m ever told I have to self-isolate, then by god I hope I’ve caught the virus, to make my self-isolation time worth it. I just hope I’m one of those with few or no symptoms.
              Too bad you can’t retire yet. This would be a great time to get out of the work environment.


  6. I would like to add to your comment. I have known quite a lot of people who do not give financially because they really cannot spare enough to make a difference. I offer them simple math. If 250,000 people gave just $2.00 each … the charity would receive $1/2M. Can we all afford $2.00? Can we afford one coffee at Starbucks or Tim’s next week? Perhaps we can manage without one coffee next week! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • We can always manage without one coffee. In fact we can manage best without any coffee.
      But I’ve been thinking about this idea of donating food to the hungry. So now I’m in trouble, due to thinking.
      According to polls, most people are in favor of lockdowns. Yet it’s the lockdowns that are causing the hunger. If most people were against lockdowns, I doubt our politicians would be imposing them. So those who are for lockdowns are responsible for people going hungry. Let them donate food to the hungry. Let them put their money where their mouth is. Er, I mean their food. Er, I mean, let them put their food where other people’s mouths are. I hope this all makes sense.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Seems to me it will be easier to solve the hunger problem than the health problem. There’s plenty of supply we just have to redirect it. Easier than stopping a virus.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’d think. But hell, farmers are slaughtering pigs, and cows, and chickens, and just burying the meat. I understand fruits and vegetables are being plowed under. Apparently, our health care system isn’t the only thing that’s screwed up in our country. We’ve got a fucked up food distribution system, also.


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