Pandemic Reflections #7

Open Windows

Before I dig in, I just want to share the news that my windows are now open. What a relief when I could finally open them and breathe fresh air again.

RBG

Oh, dear. Friday brought the news of the death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. With that news came the opportunity to reflect on how life has changed since she became the champion of women’s rights. Yes, a lot has changed, but it’s amazing how tenuous our progress is. Women, yes, even women, are still fighting to keep other women in their place. I don’t get it.

What if Biden Loses

I participated in a Zoom discussion this morning following a program that, in part, talked about the issue of trust. How can society survive without some level of trust? Yet, distrust is rampant. I, for one, will not trust election results if Biden loses to Trump. I regard my distrust as rational, and you might, too. But, don’t we all trust our own judgement? I’m guessing we will soon need to get serious about this trust issue if we are to hold the country together after November 3. And, no, I don’t have any answers.

Shopping Lessons

Did you know that if you take your own reusable bags to the grocery store, you will have to bag your own groceries? I learned that yesterday. After months of using Instacart, I gave in to my baser instincts and drove to a really big grocery store. Trying to minimize my exposure to Covid-19, I only filled a small cart. But when I proudly handed my reusable bags to the checker, she wouldn’t touch them. Since I was fumbling with my phone and credit card and store loyalty card, I let the bagger use paper sacks for my groceries. It’s so hard to get it all right these days.  

Alexa is Listening

Horizon House is using its residents as guinea pigs. Amazon, in a typical tech company ploy has given us a bunch of Echos. The company wants to see if they can get us to trust Alexa, rely on Alexa for answers to simple questions, then use Alexa to order things from Amazon. These were offered to people for use in our apartments on a voluntary basis, but management has also put some in our lobbies. They sit there, inconspicuously listening in on everything we say, hoping someone will ask about the weather or a sports score so Alexa can leap into action. (I can’t wait for the evening of November 3 when I can ask who won the election.) 

During our discussion this morning, I offered up the suggestion that if we could add a camera to Alexa, it could constantly monitor our collective mood and relay to management whether or not an uprising is imminent.

What Kind of Diversity Do We Want?

Tomorrow, I’ll initiate a discussion of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for my League of Women Voters First Hill Unit. (I’ve given in to Zoom in order to have some sort of social life, and I love seeing faces without masks.) 

Just this one recent week has offered up some news items that could make this an interesting discussion. For example, Seattleites learned that the city is paying a chunk of money to Andre Taylor, a black activist, to act as a sort of liaison between the city and “the street.” When this news spread, other black activists objected. Apparently, he’s not universally acceptable as the right black activist.

The timing of the death of RBG brings another example. Trump wants to ram through a new Supreme Court Appointment before the election, and one possible nominee is a woman who certainly would not reflect my values. This recalls the nomination of Clarence Thomas to replace Thurgood Marshall, which leads me to question our emphasis on race and gender as markers of diversity. 

Seems to me that we could create a Supreme Court that reflects the racial, ethnic, and gender balance of society, yet offers no viewpoint diversity. Shouldn’t this lead us to work toward viewpoint diversity rather than racial and gender tokens? 

Question for you: what kind of diversity would improve our society, should it be a goal, and how should we achieve that goal?

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