9/11 First Responders Got Screwed Over. Today's Frontline Workers Will Get Screwed Even Worse
2,977 victims died in 9/11. Experts estimate that more than 3,000 people will die each day of COVID-19 by June 1st, up from the current daily estimate of around 2,000 people, which is why paramedics have begun describing the COVID death toll as "-- 9/11 every single day." It's also why our frontline workers like hospital employees and grocery store employees are accurately being hailed as heroes. Because of these comparisons, we can't help but think of the 9/11 first responders who were also labeled heroes and what has since happened to them.
Despite politicians padding every speech with "never forget," and bumper stickers above sets of truck nutz promising to do the same, 9/11 first responders had to fight tooth and nail and even throw Jon Stewart at the problem to get anything done almost 20 years later. And the frontline workers of today are well on their way to getting screwed over in just the same manner but without the grace period.
Amazon employees have staged a protest over unsafe working conditions as COVID-19 continues to spread throughout warehouses. Workers have even died of COVID-19, while Amazon's response was to simply fire complaining warehouse employees. Meanwhile, horror stories are coming out of hospitals like it's Stephen King writing on meth. Because PPE (personal protective equipment) is in short supply, healthcare workers have resorted to wearing garbage bags over their gowns. Workers are being denied hazard pay despite working in the hospital is the very definition of hazardous with over 90,000 healthcare workers infected worldwide. Some ER doctors are even getting their salaries cut by up to 40%, while they're still treating the influx of corona patients.
But maybe in like 20 years, after all this is over, the government will come around to give these heroes the respect they deserve? Fat chance, because while at least we were told to "never forget" 9/11, the messaging for COVID-19 is basically to suck it up. Here's one example.
Former New Jersey Governor and current guy-who-people-ask-questions-on-the-news-for-some-reason, Chris Christie compared sacrificing sick people to sacrificing soldiers in World War II for the sake of American life.
"We sent our young men during World War II over to Europe, out to the Pacific, knowing, knowing that many of them would not come home alive. And we decided to make that sacrifice because what we were standing up for was the American way of life. In the very same way now, we have to stand up for the American way of life."
Back then, "standing up for the American way of life" was about trying to unseat a genocidal dictator hell-bent on world domination, and today it's about reopening Applebee's, but why get tied down in specifics. Trump meanwhile is hoping to just pave over history altogether, stating, "I think they're starting to feel good now. The country's opening again. We saved millions of lives, I think."
We're not sure who would tell Trump they're starting to feel good, but it certainly wasn't all of the protesting workers or really anyone who's had to stomach a conversation with him for more than five minutes. But the messaging remains, "Thanks for the hard work, now shut up and go away." Never forget that.
Top Image: Dept. of Defense