Imagine a weapons show canceled because of coronavirus. It may already have happened. It’s certainly imaginable. But now try to imagine a coronavirus show canceled by a bomb threat.
Can you picture a fossil fuel lobbyists’ retreat canceled by coronavirus? Of course you can. It may have happened already. But try to summon up an image of a coronavirus lobbyists’ retreat canceled by wildfires and hurricanes. Can’t do it, can you?
Imagine the NRA telling everyone to work from home because of coronavirus. Why not? But try to think of what it would be like for the National Coronavirus Association to keep its employees away because of mass shootings.
I’m sure you can picture a health insurance corporation’s convention ending early because of coronavirus. That’s only sensible. But can you imagine a coronavirus insurance meeting ended by the health threat of health insurance corporations? Of course not. But why not? The lack of basic universal health coverage in the United States along the lines of what most wealthy nations have has thus far caused a lot more deaths than coronavirus, and the pair may make a super-deadly team.
Why are some dangers objectionable and others desirable? Why would you not bat an eye if you read about concerns that coronavirus might reduce the number of people showing up for their jobs of maintaining constant preparedness to fire nuclear weapons?
What if a contagious disease presented a particular danger to factory farms, threatening our ability to starve millions of humans by wasting grains fattening up huge numbers of animals to be cruelly slaughtered, massively contributing in the process to climate collapse? We’d want to get those operations up and running smoothly as quickly as possible, right?
Here’s a better idea. Let’s not try to imagine a world in which people openly and shamelessly try to market coronavirus. Instead let’s try to imagine a world in which people do not openly and shamelessly market nuclear weapons, missiles, bombs, grenades, guns, coal, oil, gas, fracking, factory farms, or Joe Biden. Let’s even try to imagine a world in which we can be sure nobody working for any government is right now trying to figure out how to use coronavirus as a weapon. You know damn well that you cannot be sure of that in the current world.
How do we get from this world, in which weapons shows are totally acceptable, to a world in which they are as absurd as a coronavirus show? I don’t claim to know, but would suggest a few steps.
First, recycle all televisions. We’ve spent decades trying to make a significant proportion of the content of television something better than catastrophically awful. Let’s focus elsewhere. Get rid of the things or do not turn them on — and don’t view that stuff on your computer either.
Second, stop promoting optimism. Promote activism instead. Stop telling people they have to hear happy news or be incapable of functioning. It’s a ridiculous lie. Tell people the actual state of affairs and the need to alter things.
Third, stop all promotion of violence. Replace it with promotion of the world-changing powers of nonviolent action. Rid even your speech of violence, and don’t agree with this by telling me I’m “killing it.”
Fourth, try to view the world from the outside for a second. Assume that nothing is acceptable or unacceptable, for a second. Think, for a second, about what should be acceptable and what should not.