From a crisis of health comes a crisis of conscience. The crisis is the segregation of schoolchildren through a policy of separation and the closure of public schools. The crisis is unequal in its severity, as it denies the poor an education and offers everyone else a poor education.
The crisis will endure long after the last politician leaves the schoolhouse door, because today’s students will have no schools to attend and no schooling to open the doors of opportunity.
What we face is a future of decline, not because of an erosion of capital, but because of the destruction of intellectual capital—the loss of hearts and minds—due to quarantine and house arrest.
What we face is the continuation of our national nightmare. That the nightmare is worse than a lifetime of dreamless sleep is no lie.
What is a lie is the idea that life is better for the innocent than the guilty. The lie permits a state of nature because of man’s sinful nature, turning a universal sin—original sin—into a unique brand of suffering; laying the crimes of the father upon the children; criminalizing fathers and sons for the sin of living, of reminding us that life can be solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.
With no schools to enter and no libraries to explore, the least among us suffer the most from the worst who govern us. The result is the fast undoing of 67 years of progress during 43 weeks (and counting) of rule by progressive politicians. The result is the reversal of Brown v. Board of Education—with all deliberate speed.
The reversal is visible but immeasurable.
What we see—ghost towns in cities and tent cities in the streets—we cannot measure. What we can measure are fixed costs, not the cost of trying to fix that which politicians break like so many windows and storefronts: lives.
Thus do we accept the cost of funding dependency, while not honoring certain promissory notes for lack of sufficient funds. If we accept this cost, if we become dependent on the tranquilizing effect of ignorance, if we refuse to learn the lesson of our own history, that the drug of gradualism is no different than the prescription for slowing the spread, we will betray the dream of a King and consign ourselves to oblivion.
We see this cost in terms of economics.
We see externalities without recognizing the cost to existence itself.
We see statistics without recognizing the tragedy of injustice, as if the screens teachers use were also a way to screen for poverty; to deny the poorest children access to an education; to use connectivity to end connections with the poor.
We need to see the reversal in its totality.
We need to see the cost of the urge to do something, when good people do nothing. We need to see the cost of what happens when scientists act like social scientists and politicians act according to type, hiding behind masks and lying in plain sight.
We need to see the eyes of the children, so we may reclaim the glory of truth.