One thing to worry about

Some people have nothing to worry about, but most of us have at least one issue that keeps us up at night. Maybe it’s the contractor who didn’t show up to do the tiling for the bathroom remodel. Perhaps Sally isn’t doing her homework on time. And why won’t Billy clean his room?

Others have more serious issues. Will I get covid-19 at work? Will I run into an anti-masker who coughs on me to prove a point? Will I have enough money to make the rent?

Then there are tens of millions of people in the U.S., due to their economic status and/or color of their skin, who have more than one thing on their minds, and they’re all serious. Due to our country’s foundation of systemic classism and racism, they find themselves housing insecure, food insecure, with low resource educational opportunities, job insecure and more. They might catch covid-19 on their job, because their employer won’t enforce mask regulations “putting the customer first.” Or they lost their job altogether, and the Republican-led Senate left them high and dry with no aid.

And then there are those families who have experienced the highest rates of police brutality, terror and death seen in the last fifty years in this country.  No matter what economic class you’re in, if your family is black you’re not immune to the possibility of a dehumanizing experience at the hands of the police. Despite “the talk” as children, a person of color might move the wrong way or say the wrong thing, resulting in getting shot in the back, paralyzed or tortured (not allowed to breathe) to death by the police.

If you’re one of the people in the first category, you’re comparatively lucky. Your problems don’t overlap that much. You’re free to focus.

You might, for example, focus on the pandemic. Could such a focus turn into a privilege, in essence an assertion that your luck was the product of your own doing? Of course it can.

For you, the pandemic may be all that counts. When you forget the people for whom the pandemic is but one of their problems; worse, when you condemn them for trying to do something about their conditions; then you are asserting your status over them.

Having privilege doesn’t make you a bad person; it makes you a lucky person. You’re accepted by the status quo as being a better person and deserving of better housing, jobs, education, position in life and more.  Your question in life is what do you do with that privilege? Do you avoid trying to see and understand the root causes of those less fortunate?  Is their lot all their fault? Do they deserve a more equitable life in society or are they incapable of reaching their true potential?

Those who lord it over others tell the less fortunate how they should conduct their struggle. They admonish them on timing and tactics. They wag their fingers at people who march without masks and decry lack of social distancing. Falling into the trap of false equivalence, they compare BLM protesters with anti-maskers.

Fortunately, these types are in the minority. Most people feel the words of Ta-Nehisi Coates reverberating in their souls:

It must be remembered that in 2016, the candidate of white supremacy lost the popular vote. It is possible, then, that for the first time in American history, a legitimate anti-racist majority is emerging and thus giving birth to a world beyond Founding Father idolatry, where we can seek not merely to defeat the incumbent president, but to erase his entire philosophy out of human existence.

Vanity Fair, August 2020

Voting is part of this. Protesting is part of this. Using the pandemic as a bludgeon against this movement is the essence of short-sightedness and yes, privilege.

[Note: The above section was co-written by my wife, a mother, a public school teacher for 18 years, and a civil rights organizer for 40 years. She is a proud San Diegan and has been making me a better person for 46 years.]

Quick note on the new color-coding system and metrics from the state of California: I have not had time to study this yet, so I can’t answer any questions on it. Other readers might be able to shed light on this, but I won’t.

Up to date numbers available, even if not in this post

Interactive pages on

Election Day is in 66 Days

Sick of the pandemic and ready for a change? Your vote counts, no matter where you live. So plan now: check your registration, make sure your family and friends do that, and motivate others to save our country. And don’t wait until the last minute to drop your ballot in the mail!

At the zip code level, I’m just showing 92024 and 92139. They pretty much tell the story of all the zips in San Diego County: really bad at the beginning an middle of July, and considerably better now. You can see the other zip codes on the COVID Interactive pages on

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