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?


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