Why does the law allow the species of mammal Homo sapiens to be expelled from a refuge, but not mammals such as dogs and cats?
Of course, I support laws protecting animal rights. I love and try to communicate with all creatures. (Fish and ants are the most stubborn.) The increased penalties and law enforcement for animal abuse are encouraging.
But an analysis by the Aspen Institute reveals that 30 to 40 million American Homo sapiens are at risk of being deported.
This is made worse by COVID. We have known since January 2020 that the elimination of COVID is possible (test, trace, quarantine, isolate). Some elected officials preferred the path that left 600,000 dead.
The creation of a vaccine has been rightly celebrated. But the vaccine in vials is much less effective than the vaccine in arms.
Rather than vaccination, some of our “leaders” prefer our “freedom” to choose the risk of death for ourselves and for others. So, no more deaths.
Meanwhile, 7,000 miles away in Wuhan, China, all 11 million residents are being tested. As of May 2020, Wuhan has eliminated positive cases. Recently, when three symptomatic cases and five asymptomatic cases emerged, they resumed testing, tracing, isolation and quarantine.
Deportations in China? Yes, housing is a challenge for migrants. But during the 2020 lockdown, Wuhan built shelters for around 5,000 people.
Like the Americans, the Chinese care more about animals. Bloomberg reports that they are building 13-story condominiums for pigs to protect them from disease – with vets on site and meals individually prepared and served.
Capitalist America is unlikely to ever provide the housing for humans that China provides for pigs.
But can’t our Democrats and Republicans, religious and agnostic, at least agree to provide shelter for every member of our species? This is what we insist on for our mammalian congeners. This is what the Universal Declaration of Human Rights says is a basic human right.
So how do we do it?
Start by ignoring the 38 percent of Americans who own their homes for free and unequivocally. Focus on the 30 to 40 million people in housing poverty, starting with the homeless.
The Shelter House in Iowa City is building a second “Housing First” facility for Homo sapiens. Housing First is a movement that demonstrates why it is more effective and less costly to help the homeless and unemployed find housing before meeting their other challenges. Duplicate it across America.
This is how Finland is eliminating homelessness.
Let’s start saving lives on Earth while searching for life on Mars. We spend more on the military than the following 11 nations combined. It used to be 10. Cut it down to five.
Explain to those without compassion how much we will save by housing the homeless. Cost? We cannot afford not to.
Then, address the precariousness of housing. Forbes headlined: “Housing shortage is worse than ever”.
We need the government to start creating houses, not section 8 coupons. Learn from the early problems of social housing “projects”. Build tenant homes and welcome communities. Do not charge more than 30 percent of tenant income.
Let’s treat our own kind at least as well as we rightfully demand of other animals, from now on.
Nicholas Johnson of Iowa City is the former Co-Director of the Institute for Health, Behavior and Environmental Policy. He is the author of “Columns of Democracy”. Comments: [email protected]