OPINION: Stop Shaming Americans Who Want to Return to Work

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In many respects, it is safe to say that COVID-19 is shaping up to be just as divisive as politics, if not more so. Of course, while coronavirus itself is not political, the reactions to it certainly are. Likewise, the various ideas on how Americans should respond to COVID-19 also maintain deep political undertones.

Not everyone who wants to reopen America and get back to work is right-leaning; however, many people who harbor this position are. Likewise, not every leftist favors indefinite lockdowns; however, the idea that America should stay closed with no end in sight is certainly a popular ideology on the left-wing of America’s political spectrum.

Regardless of the politics associated with COVID-19 responses, it is time to stop shaming Americans who want to return to work. The shaming must come to an immediate halt. People who wish to remain home are free to do so; what they’re not free to do is demonize folks who seek to maintain their jobs, businesses, and livelihoods via working.

The Dignity of Work in America

Working and supporting oneself in America is both responsible and dignified. The American Dream asserts that people who work hard, make good choices, and conduct themselves admirably can succeed.

This doesn’t mean that hardships and setbacks won’t ever arise; however, when the United States government steps in and tells people that they are legally barred from working because their jobs are supposedly “non-essential,” that is unforgivable. Any bill-paying job or business is essential.

There are certain people in this country who have decided to deem those who wish to get back to work as “selfish.” In states that are gradually reopening, some business owners and workers are taking heat for choosing to get back to their jobs. This is inexcusable.

It’s easy for people whose work hasn’t been impacted by COVID-19 to shame folks who want to get back to work because their jobs, bank accounts, savings, and livelihoods are going down the drain. The same principle applies to folks who have no problem sitting at home and comfortably collecting stimulus checks and handouts from big government.

A Wake-up Call for Those Shaming Americans Who Want to Work

Earlier this month, the small business relief loan program known as the Payment Protection Program ran out of money; this should have served as a wake-up call to folks who are in no rush to return to work and eager to shame those who are. Nevertheless, there is something that everyone should remember before shaming Americans who want to go back to their jobs and businesses.

If tens of millions of people are consistently not working, there will not be any money for the government to hand out. Unemployment checks and stimulus checks don’t come out of thin air; neither does any other form of payment. Having nearly 30 million jobless Americans while government endlessly hands out money is not a sustainable or realistic game plan. At some point, the money will run out if the safety net continues draining at its current rate.

Instead of shaming people who want to get back to work, we should all follow their lead. The cure cannot be worse than the problem. COVID-19 maintains a recovery rate that goes beyond 90%; economic decline and the subsequent aftermath do not.