Saturday, August 22, 2020

CURMUDGUCATION: "Essential" My Aunt Fanny

CURMUDGUCATION: "Essential" My Aunt Fanny

"Essential" My Aunt Fanny

At this point, the adjective "Orwellian" has been absolutely beaten to death (with "Kafkaesque" right behind it). But this latest Orwellian bullshit just pokes my last nerve with a sharp stick.

You would think that an "essential" worker would be the one that you want to take the greatest steps to protect and preserve. That person guarding the door while a fire-laced sharknado rages outside? They're absolutely essential, and we'd better make sure they gets whatever they need.

But under pandemic pretzel logic, that "essential" person is the first one who gets thrown out the door.

During the pandemess, "essential" has two important meanings. First, it means that those workers can't refuse to work just because they are, you know, worried about their lives or health. Second, it means that nobody in charge can be held accountable for anything bad that happens to them while they're on the front lines.

When Trump declared meat packers "essential," that wasn't a recognition and reward for their important contribution to society. It was a declaration that Grampa wants his steak and he doesn't want to hear damned excuses, whether you're a worker (I'd rather not get sick and/or die) or a boss (I'd rather not get sued for forcing people into unsafe conditions). There was no "We're going to invest in the resources necessary to protect you while you're out there." Just "get back to work."

In fact, a quick scan of "essential" workers reveals a list of the same folks who are regularly told