The Transylvania Times -

Applaud The Peasants - Now Get Back To Work!


Last updated 5/4/2020 at 1:32pm

Readers have probably already seen the inspirational videos of people applauding their neighbors who are heading to work as essential workers or social media videos of celebrities thanking us peasants for keeping them safe in their mansions.

Maybe readers have participated in such vanity laps in social media to present themselves as caring and compassionate and then pat themselves on the back for supposedly doing something meaningful. Heart-warming, isn’t it?

Among the quintessential American traits is the heightened community spirit during hard times. As an immigrant from Scandinavia, I admire the compassion American citizens exhibit to fellow citizens in other states whether they are struggling after a natural disaster or a local tragedy. We Europeans usually snare at our neighboring nations’ misfortunes maybe due to some historical quarrel. But can we agree that publishing applauding sessions for essential workers in our social media pages is not doing very much to alleviate the struggles these working-class people are experiencing? Instead of patronizing applauses, an essential worker in America needs less commercials pandering to them and more opportunities to reach the middle-class life called the American Dream. Everything else is just pretentious nonsense.

Big business seems to have joined the bandwagon. It is, after all, cheaper to pay an advertising agency to publish a commercial praising essential workers than to actually pay higher wages to America’s back-bone of truck drivers, nurses, store clerks, machine operators and teachers. But can we write off applauses in their taxes? Can we send their children to college with “thank yous” from Hollywood and Capitol Hill? No we can’t.

Perhaps when this pandemic is over, we can have a discussion on whether our current system rewards essential merit or status. Perhaps our political representatives will have the courage to support annual tax-holidays, supported mortgages, lower tax-rates and other fiscal tools to support America’s working-class people. Applauses, despite of their well-intended purposes, simply won’t do it.

Singer Billy Ray Cyrus said it well in his song titled “We the People”: We the people prove it; we’re the heart and soul. So they better pay attention up on Capitol Hill.

- Henri Erti, Penrose


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