Life in the Time of Corona

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Photo: Carlos Avila Gonzalez/San Francisco Chronicle via Polaris

by James M Abrusci

April 1, 2020

It is Justice, and not Charity, which is the principle of the plan” 

—Thomas Paine, Agrarian Justice 

The sudden outbreak of Coronavirus has led to many changes in peoples’ lives. Many Morton College students will have heard about the recent stimulus package passed by the government, and many students are eligible for the benefits in the package. The $1,200 check is the most talked about item, but is that enough, and is that all that’s at stake? 

March On 

In March, the government passed a $2 trillion stimulus package in response to the economic shutdown amid Coronavirus fears. The buzzword that people are hearing is “$1,200”, which is the amount an adult would receive if they filed taxes in 2019 and made less than $75,000 that year. There’s an additional $500 available for each child you have. 

Federal unemployment benefits will be expanded in addition to existing state benefit programs, and benefits will also be extended. In Illinois, the maximum benefit is currently $471 per week for up to 26 weeks. The new federal stimulus benefits will add an additional $600 per week, totaling $1071, and it will add an additional 13 weeks of benefits, totaling 39 weeks. 

Federal student loan interest has been frozen for 2 months. Automatic student loan payments have been frozen until Sept. 30th. Wage garnishment due to federal loans has been frozen.  

April Fools 

In the United States, most people obtain health insurance through their employer. In the last week of March, over 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits. Millions more are expected to follow suit. If you lost your job in March, the last day you could use your health insurance was likely on March 31st. On April 1st, America woke up to a grim reality, and it was no joke. 

In the United States alone, our own government estimates that over 100,000 people could die to Covid-19. For perspective, 117,000 Americans died during World War I. And in a good year, it’s estimated that almost 70,000 Americans already die every year due to a lack of health care. It’s being widely reported that people are avoiding hospitals out of fear of getting sick. 

Our health care system is operating with a just-in-time, maximum efficiency model, which is showing strain under the sudden demand for care, and this systemic strain could result in a loss of life. Many hospitals have begun to ration care, and they’re asking people who do not have true emergencies to stay home. Many health care workers have reported that they lack basic personal protective equipment, and say they feel exposed to the virus. 

A few benevolent health insurance companies have waived costs related to Covid-19 testing and treatment, but others have yet to take these steps. Many people have posted their hospital bills on social media after receiving treatment for Covid-19, and, even with insurance, people reported out of pocket costs as high as $1,500. One poor soul who lacked insurance received a bill for $35,000. 

Mayday 

By May 1st, the peak of the viral infection will have hopefully passed. But by then, millions of Americans will have been out of work for over a month, they may have medical bills from Covid-19, and rent will still be due. Many city and state governments have already enacted laws which protect renters from being evicted during the crisis, but many haven’t, and many more won’t. Millions of Americans are unsure whether they will have a roof over their heads.  

In the stimulus bill, there is eviction protection for renters in buildings insured by the federal government, but this only represents 8 million of the more than 44 million Americans that rent. Technically, landlords can begin to evict tenants on May 1st if they haven’t paid rent, even if they were unable to pay due to Coronavirus.  

Many tenants have threatened landlords with rent strikes, and some businesses have openly refused to pay their upcoming rents and mortgages.  

In this time of crisis, Americans are becoming reliant on the Charity of their landlord, and the Charity of health insurance corporations, rather than relying on their government to secure their human rights, and this, Thomas Paine would agree, is an insufferable situation.  

“…time was not passing…it was turning in a circle…” 

― Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude 

Everyone is Perfect

Photo Credit: Alan Seabra

There is a controversy about the idea of perfection. Many people feel discouraged by it, and others see it as the right push to challenge their limits.

by Bianca Cataldo

Dec. 12, 2019

That “canon” of perfection is merely a caricature. It is just an idea, an utopia, an image. We define it as the absence of flaws, so that it becomes an enemy, unreachable, and unreal.

Leonard Cohen, a singer, poet, and novelist, once said that “there is a crack in everything. It is from there that light enters.”

The mistake, the imperfection are the elements that make the distinction and allow us to become unique and different from everyone else. It means that it is from our flaws and mistakes that light enters because every single imperfection makes us who we are.

The idea of perfection, based on the connotation we give to it, cannot be reached. However, we can see it from another perspective.

The idea of perfection can become the engine that pushes us to improve day after day. In fact, we can always excel, and reach our maximum potential, and therefore reach our own personal perfection.

It is indeed from our mistakes and flaws that we learn, and we become a better version of ourselves. Throughout our lives, little by little, we approach that ideal that everyone seeks.

No one should ever feel limited or discouraged by seeking perfection. We should rather redefine this idea by not seeing it as the absence of mistakes, but perceiving it as a challenge and a future personal growth. In the end, we are all perfect if we are the best version of ourselves.

Work for The Collegian

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Are you considering a career in media, or do you simply want to express yourself and learn how a contemporary online magazine works? Gain this experience at The Collegian, Morton’s student-run paper.

The Collegian is currently hiring editors, reporters and photographers. At least two positions are paid. Other positions might become paid as the paper’s readership grows.

Candidates should be self-motivated, possess outstanding writing and communication skills, and they should be able to meet deadlines and work as members of a team. To be considered, candidates must be currently enrolled at Morton College. Ideal team members will have at least two semesters of experience studying at Morton College.

For more information, please contact Karolis Zukauskas, the Collegian adviser.

 

Photo of Quill and Scroll from Wikipedia.

Welcome to the New Collegian

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I’m happy to announce, as the Faculty Advisor to the Morton Collegian, the launch of this website, which has been a semester-in-the-making. Creating it has been a labor of love. Now Morton College has its own 100% student-run online journal.

Writing for a student paper can be a lot of fun. At the Collegian, it will be an experience in contemporary media. I encourage all students interested in joining our staff to please contact the editor-in-chief. Likewise, I encourage students who simply want to function as occasional contributors to contact the editor.

What are we looking for? The mission of the Morton Collegian is to give students a voice. We are interested in your concerns, tastes, observations, interests, opinions and experiences. As we grow and expand, we hope to review books and film, music and art, as we also profile students, faculty and staff. We are also interested in articles about alumni, or personal essays written by alumni of the college.

When you read articles you like or the kind that give a voice to your concerns, we hope you will share them with your friends on social media. We also hope that you add the Collegian to your online reading lists. It will be the place to turn when you want Morton news.

Photo of Carolus’ “Relation”, the first newspaper, from Wikipedia