Last week, billionaires from around the world flew their sleek private jets to Davos – an Alpine town now synonymous with the annual gathering of the wealthiest of the wealthy.
In fact, you might not even know that “Davos,” as it is routinely called, is really the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting.
It is. And it’s at that forum that the elite’s elite rub elbows and sip hot cocoa while deciding how the world will play out. They’re the chess players, after all, moving pieces around all over the world over hors d’oeurves.
All this to say – these are important people. These are people who are … irreplaceable.
Their lives are precious.
And the entire conference catered to that very idea.
HEPA filters happily hummed away in the corners. Reporters were photographed wearing winter coats indoors while interviewing attendees, suggesting that windows at the conference were ajar for ventilation. And from the bluish cast to the lighting, it appeared that they also utilized Far-UVC lights (which at least one study reports makes indoor air as safe as outdoor air).
And that was after you got inside. To gain entry in the first place you needed a negative Covid PCR test; if you refused a test, the electronic bracelet that served as your ticket was immediately deactivated. And if you felt sick at all during the conference, a COVID test was a hotline call away.
But that all makes sense, you see.
These are the important people. We can’t have them getting sick, can we?
Now let’s turn to the UK House of Parliament. Very important people work there, too. Their lives, too, are precious.
So it makes sense, doesn’t it, that they’d retrofit their air filtration systems to clean the air they breathe? (https://www.purifiedair.com/case-studies/the-houses-of-parliament/)
It makes sense that, to protect these very valuable people, they’d install a new system that “vastly improved upon the indoor air quality” and keeps “airborne viruses and bacteria” at bay within the space. And once installed, “[t]he cleaner air also helped enhance feelings of well-being and increase productivity for the occupiers of the space.”
You don’t say.
Take a long look at how these truly precious gems of humanity are treated.
And then reflect upon what the rest of us – including you – are expected to endure as “normal.”
Billionaires and policy makers know the risks of Covid. Why take a chance with their health (which is arguably even a billionaire’s most precious commodity) when you can avoid that risk by taking simple precautions?
Their mitigations are reasonable, effective, and scalable. Windows are windows. HEPA filters are portable, readily available, and cost-effective. (And you can even make your own as a science project.) And if Parliament – a building rebuilt in 1876 – can retrofit its HVAC system to make it safer, what building can’t?
Do a thought experiment with me for a second. Imagine what would happen if only the elite were allowed clean water. Every day they got to enjoy limitless clean, crystal-clear, good-tasting water.
But you? You and your family were relegated to water that may, or may not, be clean and safe to drink. By drinking it, you may get cholera. Or you may not.
Not to worry, though – cholera is a disease easily treated with rehydration; the case fatality rate for treated cholera is under 1%. Chances are really good you’d be fine! (Psst: the observed case fatality rate in the U.S. for COVID is 1.1%, per Johns Hopkins data as of 1/23/23.)
Would you drink that water straight from the tap?
Or would you boil it and be sure to kill the pathogen that would – at best – make you really uncomfortable and sick?
You’d boil it.
And then you’d start demanding that you get the same clean, crystal-clear, good-tasting water that the elites get. You’d point to the fact that you have to boil your water, while they can drink theirs straight from the tap. You’d point to the inequity, right? You’d point out that it’s completely unfair that you bear all of that risk, even though your life is just as valuable.
You’d point out the excess burden on people who have been marginalized since … well since forever, on older people, on people in poverty, and those with pre-existing conditions. You’d say that it’s cheaper in the long run for the government to ensure adequate drinking water for everyone rather than paying a steeper price in lost productivity, wage taxes, and higher healthcare costs.
You’d point out that healthcare is a human right.
And you’d be right.
You have a right to clean air just as much as you have a right to clean water. Every day your lungs are drinking in what’s in the environment – including what everyone else has expired into the air.
It is uncomfortable to think about. Gross, even. But it’s the reality of shared spaces.
The billionaires have internalized this lesson, and are acting on what they’ve learned.
Why aren’t we?
Why aren’t we #DavosSafe in schools? Medical offices? Hospitals? Banks? Grocery stores? Public transit?
We should be. And we can be.
If this conversation is making you uncomfortable, or is making you say to yourself “well, maybe, but we can’t do that…” ask yourself why not. Ask yourself why your life shouldn’t be treated with the same respect and reverence as a billionaire’s. For god’s sake – why isn’t your life as precious?
Then ask why it’s not reasonable to use simple modifications that are already being used to make “living life” safer for billionaires to make “living life” possible for everyone.
On social media, the conversation seems to be that it’s a binary choice between “100% lockdowns” or flailing around with no precautions, breathing in everyone’s backwash – masks be darned.
But that is the conversation that has been given to you.
I’m asking you to expand the conversation.
They did in Davos.
Let’s live like billionaires.
And let’s get to work
Actions for the Week of January 24, 2023
Debt Ceiling: Chaos
We all know that the GOP has no legislative goals for this session of Congress, and is instead focused on their speciality: chaos. They’re outdoing themselves by playing chicken with the economy and trying to extract cuts to social programs in exchange for agreeing to pay our bills on time.
If you have a Republican member of congress, we really need to hit the phones daily to drive home that folks are watching them closely. There are 18 MOCs who won races in districts that Biden also won. They will be complicit in default if it happens, and we need to be sure they remember it.
Script: Hi, my name is ___ and I’m calling from [zip]. I’m hearing that House Republicans is planning refuse to increase the Debt Ceiling and force the US to default on its obligations. What is [name of congresscritter]’s position on this? I can tell you as a [parent, retiree, student, etc] that the idea that Republicans would hold the economy hostage and threaten my [child’s future. retirement income, future, etc] to get their way is shocking. I will be watching this very, very closely.
P.S. If they say that Democrats are blowing the implications of default out of proportion, you can respond that one of Jim Jordan’s former staffers is on record saying it was something that their office considered and realized was so catastrophic that they tabled it.
Clean Your Air
You can do a lot to clean the air around you and make the world safer for everyone just by adding a HEPA filter to your workspace, office building, kids’ classrooms – wherever you spend time. It’s easy to start there and build awareness.
You can go further by lobbying your local government to add HEPA filters in public spaces, like the DMV, where people congregate. There’s a lot more that can and should be done, but we can start there. Small deeds, after all…
So this week, commit to having a conversation about ventilation/filtration with one person – whether it’s a policymaker or a neighbor. And commit to reaching out to your local official to find out what they’re doing to make shared spaces safer for all of their constituents.
Have Friends in Wisconsin? This one’s for you!
Join Working Family’s Power, the Women’s March, and Bigger than Roe to help get out the word about the upcoming Wisconsin Supreme Court election.
At this training you’ll learn to use an app that will help you find your friends who are registered to vote. The sponsoring orgs will send those friends a mailed postcard with your photo on it (to really grab their attention), as well as info on what’s at stake and a reminder to vote in the Spring Election on April 4th.
They’ll need your list, your photo, and your permission but you don’t need to spend time writing out addresses etc. Sign up here: https://www.mobilize.us/mobilize/event/547914/
Lobby the Eleven Senators Who Aren’t Co-Sponsors for the Assault Weapons Ban bill.
(H/T Chop Wood Carry Water)
Not a day goes by without news of a shooting. We don’t need to live this way.
Hi, My name is _______________ and I am a (parent, gun violence survivor/gun owner/veteran/faith leader/educator/practitioner/law enforcement family member). I’m also a volunteer with Newtown Action Alliance.
Sunday morning, our nation woke up to the unfolding mass shooting tragedy in Monterey Park where a gunman killed ten and wounded ten others. This was the 33rd mass shooting in the United States just 21 days into 2023.
As long as unfettered access to high-powered weapons continues to make it possible for hate-filled people to quickly and efficiently kill the masses, America’s sense of safety and security to gather in public spaces will be held hostage.
The assault pistol and high capacity magazines used by the Monterey Park gunman would have been banned by the federal assault weapons ban legislation.
I urge Senator _________ to act swiftly to cosponsor the Assault Weapons Ban which Senator Feinstein will be reintroducing tonight on the senate floor. Thank you.
For much more info on the Assault Weapons ban and what else the Newton Alliance is doing to help stop gun violence in this country check out their latest toolkit.Cantwell, Maria – (D – WA)
Cortez Masto, Catherine – (D – NV)
Fetterman, John (D-PA)
Heinrich, Martin – (D – NM)
Kelly, Mark – (D – AZ)
King, Angus S., Jr. – (I – ME)
Manchin, Joe, III – (D – WV)
Ossoff, John – (D – GA)
Sinema, Kyrsten – (D – AZ)
Tester, Jon – (D – MT)
Welch, Peter (D-VT)
Indivisible Rural Raucous Call
Calling all rural Dems! RSVP for the Indivisible Rural Raucous Caucus Call this Wednesday, January 25 at 8pm ET/5pm PT. It’s the first Rural Caucus call of the new year. On the agenda: how (and why) to build a strong, trustworthy brand in your community collaborating with rural Indivisibles from all across the country to come up with best practices and creative innovations. The call will feature Indivisible co-founder Ezra Levin.
WHEW! GO, YOU!
If you’d like to sign up to get this pep talk and action list in your in-box each week, you can do that here. Welcome, friend!
Thank you for reading. Thank you for writing. I read and respond to every e-mail. (Really! I really do!) We’re in this together. Don’t you forget it.
P.P.S: Why don’t you make someone’s day and send this pep talk to a friend or two? I bet they need it.