In the time of COVID-19, every decision made in the public sphere will have consequences on the state of public health. For every business reopening, there will be repercussions, both financial and medical, as people begin to reintegrate into the outside world and possible liabilities increase. Bill Stierle and Tom chat about the state of public health in COVID-19 as driven by the capitalist system. Together, Bill and Tom process some of the decisions of public servants that will surely have an effect on public health. Don’t miss this essential discussion.
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Truth Versus Capitalism Versus Health
Bill, I enjoyed our conversation about the truth and the public servant. As time goes on, we’re seeing this clash between capitalism and health, and some other things that realize that capitalism and being a public servant in truth. There are some different things at play here and it’s worth taking a deeper dive on.
One of the biggest challenges and things I get stuck in my noggin has to do with the need for value. It’s an important thing for us. There’s value. Mostly in the capitalist mindset, value trickles down to a hard dollar and monetary piece. That’s the thing that becomes unsettling is that if the value is always boiled down to $1, then other values are less valuable. I’m going to name a few, integrity, mutual respect, truth as a value, need for consideration. What do collaboration and cooperation look like in a society? When it comes to the dollar, it’s like, “Those things are nice, but can I make a buck at it and/or will there be a dollar sign at the end of this thing?” I did the right thing, but the right thing turned out to be the wrong thing in regards to money. It cost me my job and my things. We did have somebody resigned to meet their own need for integrity and truth with the infectious person.
I can’t remember his name, but he is the one that stepped into truth and said, “We cannot put this message out because it’s not in alignment with scientific truth. It’s not close on the radar screen and you’re using this drug or this piece of information as a shill of hope.” It’s not true. It’s an illusion of hope, but you’re using it as a temporary thing that’s not truthful. It will give some people hope because they’re on your side and not because it works. This is where the public servant is standing up for integrity and truth and capitalism’s going like, “We could promote this for a little while. Let’s see if we can get some bucks off of this. It might not work, but there’ll be a boost in the stock market. It’ll go down, but we’ll bet on both sides of the up and the down.” Notice that you’re shaking your head and going like, “That’s not the truth we want to be shelling and selling to each other.”
That happens all the time on Wall Street because there are different commodities. Oil goes down, gold goes up, different things like that when you’re talking about health and safety. That gets murky.
They’re betting on health and safety. That one is unsettling. The public servant, they’re going to take their punches. They’re doing things for the greater good, not the new to the individuals. Tom, when you get a ticket for speeding or a parking ticket, it might not meet your need for financial security, but the idea of a speeding ticket is to meet the need for safety and give you a warning about safety. Here is the thing, you could make the conspiracy and/or true thing that the police officer has ten tickets to write. Is that fully true? In some cases, that might be true if they got somebody that is saying, “You’ve got to do that and they’re following orders.”
All of a sudden, you’re up and they happen to catch you and you’re only 5 miles an hour over. They give you a ticket for that and you go like, “Really?” This is the dance we have between the public servant, in this case, a police officer and capitalism, “I need some money for my police department because we’ve got to hit our “quotas.” Is the quota doing widespread? I’m not doing the research on that piece. The answer when it was done was not widespread, it’s around. They’ll do look at the numbers. They don’t say it, but people do make mistakes, “I can write him a ticket about that.” “Is there racial profiling that?” “Yeah.” That one’s also a partial/stronger truth that is in the environment. Look at the number of tickets and the number of people in jail. That’s upsetting to me because it’s not in alignment with truth and integrity.
Related to what you’re saying there, Bill. There was a black jogger shot by two white men because he wasn’t wearing a mask. Do you think they would have shot him if he was a white person jogging not wearing a mask? You can question that.
Here’s when the public servant is not trusted to do their job. If a police officer pulls over and says, “We have a need for safety. Here’s a mask. Could you please wear this while you’re jogging?” Even the two white guys pulling up next to him and say, “We want to consider society. Could you jog with this mask for us?” instead of shooting the guy. The tad bit of extreme to meet the need for health. The anger is being stirred by some people following the rules, some people letting go of the rules. Who’s left to be accountable? Two guys driving in a car that is making it up as they go. Do we want to be that society? I don’t think so. I’ve seen some of the videos from other countries where the policing is not particularly great and people hop out of each other car and everything from swinging bats to shooting at each other. It’s like, “Do we want that level of civil discourse and citizens taking their perception of the rule of law?” The president did say the mask was optional.In the capitalist mindset, value trickles down to a hard dollar. Click To Tweet
He’s demonstrating. He went to a mask factory and visited it in Arizona and did not wear a mask.
Neither did anybody else in that place wore a mask. In other words, “We’re okay here because we live in a mask factory and therefore, we’re working, living and making masks.” Therefore, by that extension, it’s not the virus is not going to get on our factory floor. It’s unsettling because that truth, level of protection with integrity is to be demonstrated from the top down. It’s not supposed to take away the need for respect for the president, but augment the need for respect for the president.
Any previous president in this entire country would have worn a mask when they went to the Mayo Clinic, Cleveland Clinic, somewhere. They would have worn a mask and the president would have worn a mask going to a mask factory or going anywhere to set an example of respect for your fellow citizens and safety. This president is all about him. He’s not going to do that. What his attitude and leadership by his example are amplifying the real conflict going on in this country between freedom and safety, choice and protection. I even hear it in some of my friends where they are staying home, they have great respect for the fact that if they want to stay safe and not get this thing, they’re going to stay home for a while longer. At the same time, they’re concerned that America cannot shut the economy off for the rest of the year. People are going to have to get back to work or we’re going to have some much bigger problems than the virus. There is some truth to that.
People’s lifestyles, well-being, financial outlooks, stability for their home and family. Even my son and I talked about it a little bit. He goes like, “Dad, I’m trying to get through this.” I’m going like, “That’s the shrink mindset is I’m trying to get through this.” I’ve had those moments. I was going like, “I am working my butt off doing communication sessions, providing people support to get freedom in their own mind, to be able to take action even though the spectrum of helplessness and hopelessness is sitting on your shoulder.” How do you dig yourself out of that as you focus on the things that you can do and have a choice about? Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning said this important thing. It has to do with choice and truth. As a Jewish psychologist in a Nazi concentration camp being captive there, he had to focus on, “What choices do I get to make and then make those choices?” His mental state stayed stable and here were some of the choices, “Now I’m going to choose to get it out of my bed with the right foot and tomorrow, I might choose to get out of my bed at the left foot.” If you think about that, it’s like, “That is such a small choice.”
Psychologically, you are picking, “I’m getting out of my bed. I don’t get choices in some of these other things. The death around me, being in concentration camps, the amount of food I get whether my number’s up. I don’t get a lot of choices there, but mentally I’ve got this choice. I also get a choice to be kind to the guard. I have a choice to say, ‘Good morning,’ to others.” There are a lot of choices, but it’s minimalized. For all of those people that are reading this, that’s a part of the practice of meditation and prayer is making choices about what you’re focusing on. Same choices. How it relates to our topic, truth, capitalism, and the public servant is that we’ve got to make choices on the public servant and capitalist side. What are our public servant pieces? How can we get protection and safety? On the other side is how we can get financial security and start back up to have our way of life come back? I know I threw a whole bunch of stuff at you, Tom. It’s a daunting thing to get used to what is my choice that your friends are talking about? How do I choose safety?
Is there a balance? We all needed to know we need to get back to work. The decision has been made for us here in many ways with how many states that are already open or partially open. It’s 40 at least or they’re either open or starting to open. By the end of May, it’s going to be too late. We’re going to know how bad it’s gotten, what the new hotspots are that are not New York City. That more people are dying and we’re going to have 3,000 deaths per day. We’re going to find out that if the decision to turn the economy back on sooner rather than later, was it helpful with the economy? People may think, “We have to get back to work because I’ve got to put food on the table and I can’t afford to feed my family.” I get that.
Am I going to sacrifice my life to do that?
Are you going to sacrifice your life or life of some of your family members?
Many people will say no to that.
The other thing that many people don’t realize is that you turn the economy back on temporarily. Financially, your situation might be improved, but you might end up having to shut things back down again for a longer period of time. That makes the financial pain even worse than it had you stayed home for another month and not reopened in the first place. It may be counterproductive.
The thing that we’re going to experience, if I’m taking my best guess, and all of a sudden we can start looking at this best guess, is that there was this peak in New York and it looks like there’s some flattening and declining going on. Here’s what other nations have done. They kept their peak lower and they’re flattening when they finally flattened it, it was 10, 20, 100 people died. Not 3,000 people died but 10, 20 because of the way we’re doing the flat line is going to be higher. It’s going to flatline and stays at 3,000, then everybody’s going to say, “It’s flatlined.” It belongs to be flatlined at 100 a day, not flatlined at 3,000 a day. Their truth will be the line is flattened, but the line has been flattened too high. That’s the narrative that we’re going to hear and it’s going to upset you and I for about the next 2 to 3 months. We’re going to look at it and go like, “Remember that episode we did in May where the lines are going to get flattened?” It is flat. It’s going to be flat at 3,000 or 2,000 a day.
The truth that’s being purchased is The White House has clearly changed its approach. The daily Coronavirus task force briefings are fewer that he’s even talking about the span in the task force by Memorial Day, which doesn’t make any sense. What we’re hearing is, “We’ve done such a good job. We’ve saved millions of lives.” The number keeps creeping up. It’s over 70,000 and it’s probably going to get to 130,000, 250,000 deaths in the US.
It will be 100,000. It’s already at 75,000. It’s going to be another 25,000 people are going to die. We’re going to hit by June 1st, there are 100,000 people.
Those 100,000 numbers are much bigger than The White House ever wanted it to be. The president had always given lower estimates and we’re doing a great job and it’s going to stop here but it keeps creeping up. He’s got to make that proportional number lower. He’s like, “We’ve saved millions of lives about what we’ve done. This 100,000 here, we did a fantastic job.” That’s what he’s trying to say.
The biggest challenge with this disease and truth is I read a comparative article about AIDS when the AIDS epidemic went through, and the same narrative regarding Ronald Reagan not paying attention to it, not being an action. It was a sexually transmitted disease, which was uncomfortable for people to talk about. Who wants to talk about their sexuality openly? Who wants to move into a place of using a condom? “It’s hitting the gay community mostly. I don’t want to talk about that issue either because there are a lot of voters that don’t like those people and have a belief that it’s a disease for them.” Once it’s in the blood bank and once your friend, Rock Hudson, gets it, then all of a sudden you do something about it.
That’s the way the timeline took place, it’s like, “We’ve got to work on the public health piece, not vote as if the public health piece has that strong of a financial piece to it.” It has a financial consideration to it, but not when the public good is looking for the government and the various different agencies to protect them. We as human beings are extending trust to them to take care of some big things, so we don’t have to think about those big things. That’s what we’re doing. The dance between capitalism and the public servant, capitalism and socialism. The public servant is a socialistic job. When you vote for your representative, your salary is paid by everyone in that state. That is a socialistic move is what that is.You must be able to take action even when the specter of helplessness is sitting on your shoulder. Click To Tweet
Are some things better than capitalism? Are some things better than socialism? Yeah. There are some ways to have an honest discussion about that. When we’re looking to transition and have an honest discussion about what the value of life is? Who is expendable? AIDS victims were expendable because it was people not in a monogamous relationship. Most certainly gay people were not in a monogamous relationship as if that were right in their viewpoint. Do old people have value in our economy? As I allow that to drop, all of a sudden you can see how unsettling it becomes. Tom, do you think old people have a value in our economy?
They have value.
How do we honor and respect them to have as full of life as they can or a full of life until their last breath, whenever that is? Our medical system is set up to keep them alive as long as possible because we don’t have a graceful exit plan. We have, “When your body falls apart or when there’s a disease that’s big enough that they can take you out. That’s when your number is up.” In this case, we’re not protecting them and all the people that fought in World War II that are in that age group, they are seeing what we’re doing for them. We are not protecting them the way we need to.
It is hard. There’s even the reality that it’s hard to protect anyone from this virus. It came out that one of the president’s falaise and he has military people that tend to him all the time. It always does and maybe carries his bags, helicopter and they tend to him personally, interacts with him a lot. One of them tested positive for Coronavirus. Apparently, this was like a “shit moment.” The White House was like, “How could that happen?” This virus is hard to stop. You wonder if something like that has to come home to reach the president or if he ends up testing positive, will then his perspective change? Only after it affects him because this president of nothing else is all about me. Unfortunately, there is this significant lack of leadership on these issues of economy versus health. It’s created and the president has fanned the flames of this culture war in the United States. We have our masks. Don’t you agree?
That one is tough. The tough part of it is he’s playing both sides of it. His supporters are on both sides. Some of them go like, “Hell no, I’m not wearing a mask. Anybody that asks me to wear a mask, I’m going to act my freedom and my choice to do whatever I need to.” You had a story about the bus driver or something?
There was a woman bus driver who had a passenger on board the bus and is not wearing a mask. The bus driver lets them know, “You need to wear a mask.” This passenger responds by spitting on the bus driver. I’m like, “Wow.” You mentioned about our level of discourse in the United States. Is that where we’ve devolved to? It’s horrible disrespect number one. Number two is the person who does the spitting, not only are they disrespecting the bus driver, but they’re also potentially causing the harm that our mask is supposed to protect. It’s despicable. To me, the fact that there’s no national leadership and no standard for not only wearing masks or not but then also what the consequences are. I’m sure there’s not a law on the books about wearing a mask or not wearing a mask, but maybe there is about spitting on people but to me, there has to be some consequence for that action.
You’re looking for the consequence of protection, to remind the person similar to a speeding ticket. To remind the person that this is what safety looks like. Safety looks like wearing a mask and not spitting on people. If you want to exercise your need for choice, just walk. You don’t want to wear a mask, that’s great. Walk, stay 6 feet away from people. “You don’t believe that the virus is things? You think it’s either a manufacturer or it’s a conspiracy? You’re buying into denialism. You’re buying into a belief structure that validates that you get to spit at others and that’s okay?” Spit on the street if you want but not here, not on someone, not in this space.
This was in your former state. This was in Miami-Dade County, Florida this occurred. It made the news for some reason.
That one’s tough. There’s the other one that happened, the jogger that didn’t wear the mask that got shot too, which has a similar narrative that, “You’re not wearing a mask.” I am going to take action because there’s no police officer that’s going to pull you over and say, “Here, wear a mask.” I’m not going to be the civil servant pulling over and say, “Would you be willing to consider others by wearing a mask and hand the guy the mask?” No, they think that they need to be the person in charge of being punitive.
The thing that’s surprising about the jogger is that I see joggers all the time. You and I both live in Southern California. I don’t know how much you get out, but I get out walking my dog every day and I’m not wearing a mask when I’m walking my dog throughout the neighborhood. Maybe we walk 1 or 1.5 miles at times, but it’s not tremendously long.
Spacious community, a lot of fresh air, sunlight, heat and things that would minimalize your particles carrying something to someone else.
There’s ample opportunity to stay far away from other people. Even when I do encounter other people walking, jogging for their health, if I’m there with the dog on the leash, then a jogger who’s coming on the same sidewalk toward me will usually go out into the street with a distance of a whole car vehicle in between us at least. We don’t come near each other. It’s reasonable that joggers have an awareness of what’s coming up ahead of them and taking the appropriate action to minimize exposure. To me, that whole incident was not just about a mask. There are other things that must have come into play then.
It seems like that there was a race piece to it if I’m thinking about it right. There have been a lot of years that have been spent cultivating the belief around race being dangerous. It’s other than white is more dangerous than other human beings and the numbers are clearly not in alignment with that. The truth is lost on this one. Somebody also posted this one on Facebook, which is a worthy note. If all of the people that were protesting with guns in Michigan, if you change all their faces to either black or brown, there would be a different response rather than a bunch of white people expressing their need to be heard. Meanwhile it’s like, “You have a need to be heard, but not if you have guns on because you’re violent people, therefore you have more of the potential to be violent.” The answer is, “No, I don’t. Your group is as violent as my group is.”
Another interesting meme that I happen to see related to that same thing with the people who made their way into the Capitol in Lansing, Michigan with those guns was telling them that poking fun at those protestors in Photoshop, digitally replacing the rifles, the guns. Did you see the guns that they’re each holding with each an inflatable penis? It was hilarious.
Self-worth or respect that I’m showing some strength.
“I’m carrying a gun. I have power and I am worthy of respect because of it.” The meme was trying to say these guys are being childish in many ways.There have to be consequences for the different actions that are taken. Click To Tweet
The need for respect is something that human beings put a lot of energy around self-worth and my identity. I want to be known as this type of person versus this type of person. My beliefs are strong that I can hate this other person because my identity says, “I hate this other person.” You can ask many college alumni, “Who is your college rival?” “We do not like those people. They’re from that college. They’re our rivals.” I’m sure that Michigan and Michigan State have 1 or 2 things to say about that and Notre Dame, have your pick. It’s that adversarial.
It’s UCLA and USC. There’s always this thing between them.
What is the thing, loyalty, identity and need for respect? Who’s going to win this time? It’s something to invest our emotions in. Where am I going to yell and scream? At this game. Why? I did it for four years in college and two years in graduate school I yelled at this other team. I’m going to the game and donate to my school and we’re going to beat USC. One of the things that we can pull off of this is for us to internally start asking the value of life, double ask ourselves a better question around who is expendable? What is this expendable energy about? What is the value that we are standing for as human beings?
When we take a look at the culture, we’re regarding masks. It’s got to be centered around consideration that, “I might not have the same belief structure as another person and because of that, I can wear a mask.” We all feel better in the same community because half the people are wearing masks. Watch how weird this is. Half of the people are not wearing masks. The people that are wearing masks will go to another store. It is an economic reason. They’re saying open back up again. That means you want people to purchase things. Half of the country or more has been terrified because of the lack of testing and contact tracing. That is a public servant failure straight out. It has impacted capitalism and it will continue to impact capitalism.
The bus is a different scenario because people have to be in close proximity than the jogger when we were talking about that. Retail stores, you can’t help but get close to people and each store is making their own rules.
Everybody’s leaning on their own rules. That brings up another situation we could definitely talk about the rules and truth here, “People make the rules. I make the rules for my kids and they break them. I have a good conversation with them about the good reason why the rules are there, but it’s still doesn’t mean they are not an excess exercising choice.” That’s the thing to take off. Good one, Tom. We did something here.
There are lots of other spinoff topics to cover as we go forward, for sure.
Especially political when Joe Biden gets involved, he’s got to communicate truth and the balance of truth. He’s going to get further with that and then take on the polarization and the distraction energy that’s there. More to come on this.
Bill, thanks so much.