Mr. Rogers was the first to tell people to “look for the helpers” in times of distress. Sure, it’s advice aimed at preschoolers, just one way his nonprofit advises helping kids cope with trauma. And in today’s violent, tenuous times, his words have been twisted into a meme slung about by adults too scared to hunker down and fix the world they helped build. Still, it's useful advice.
Unfortunately, with the worst of the coronavirus pandemic yet to come, plenty of people are acting like selfish fools. Most of the country is a mere ten days into self-isolation, and conservative pundits are on-air calling for people to go back to work… which could kill them, infect others needlessly and overwhelm hospitals that are already scrambling to prepare for the inevitable avalanche of COVID-19 cases.
Luckily, a queen has indicated she’s also a proletariat hero. Pop icon Britney Spears reposted an Instagram by Mimi Xhu calling for people to commune and connect in this time of isolation — but also redistribute wealth and strike. It’s the sort of leftist opinion-having that’d get a celebrity blacklisted 50 or 60 years ago, but right-on to Ms. Spears for advocating for the people.
Much news is being made of the pop star’s supposedly socialist leanings. I asked my editor, Jeff, if he thinks Britney understood the subtext of her post, with the rose emojis and everything, or if it was just a coincidence. He pointed out that “the roses are a pretty well-known socialist symbol,” so I guess it’s a mystery. Ms. Spears remains an enigma.
I mean, it’s heartening that Britney is (intentionally or unintentionally) politically engaged and invested in holding the people in charge accountable. What do all of these politicians and bankers think is gonna happen on April 1, when rent is due but thousands of Americans haven’t been able to work for much of the month of March? Unless there’s a rent freeze and certified aid on the way, it ain’t gonna be pretty.