It could not be helped
In the days of reckoning, will we say, “it could not be helped?”
Our community could not open public bathrooms for hand-washing?
We could not turn on water fountains for people struggling to find fresh water?
We could not provide enough laundry or showers?
We could not imagine a way to keep clinics open for people without phones?
We could not create systems for unemployment applications that didn’t automatically preference people who have internet?
We just kept writing tickets and rousing people who sleep outside, forcing them into new social proximities? New dangers?
We could not leave essential items we didn’t need on the shelves for people who might need them more?
We could not provide tests to our community’s most vulnerable because America had to be first in developing them?
We had to close our doors to people at the precise moment when they needed us the most?
We could not feed people in public parks?
Will our answer be “it could not be helped?”
and what will we mean by that?
Let’s get one thing clear: it could not be helped only means
we would not help.
It could not be helped means
they were beyond our consideration.
Just beyond the scope of our collective compassion.
At least this is honest. At least it recognizes the human beings at the beginnings and the ends of our decisions, and all the space for human intervention in the middle.
Can this possibly be our story, as we count our losses?
We would not help them.