I am a huge supporter of Elon Musk — ever since he shared my Medium article back in 2018, one detailing what I went through with my ex, how I almost took my life, and how he unknowingly helped me so much. His kindness has been a major and positive influence in my life, which is why I am writing this.
I am doing so with the fullest intention of being fair and balanced while acknowledging Elon’s point of view and the point of view of those who agree with him while expressing my own point of view and why I disagree with him. I still support and admire him — but I want to share my thoughts. Elon, if you’re reading, know that I will always appreciate you and support you.
Here in America, we have a lot to be grateful for. Running water, homes to stay in. Well, most of us. I’ve been homeless before. I’ve had to bathe in the public restrooms at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta before. And I’ve been woken up by a police officer poking me with a baton at Hurt Park — before I’d even met my ex. I’d had a pretty rough life.
However, I am fortunate now. I’ve rebuilt my life and secured a job working from home. I am lucky — and am grateful for where I am in life. There are those who don’t have what I have, and I understand that.
I want to address what Elon Musk tweeted and said in the Tesla earnings call yesterday. Elon is for reopening America. I think, in a sense, we all are on some level. I mean, who doesn’t want life to go back to normal? Who doesn’t want to go to the movies, the new club that just opened, or the park?
I want that. I want to start back selling my jewelry again. I also live in a hotspot and don’t want to accidentally give someone the virus. I had to stop selling jewelry because I got very sick with what two doctors thought was Covid-19. The test came back negative, but I am still recovering from being sick for 5 weeks with the worst pneumonia I’ve ever had in my life — if it wasn’t Covid-19. I was informed it could have been a false negative. Either way, I’m on the road to recovery.
What Did Elon Say, Exactly?
Yes, Elon spoke his mind and many were shocked at how seemingly “right wing” Elon sounded. His initial tweet in all caps, “FREE AMERICA NOW,” interrupted a debate I was having with a friend who fully believes that the coronavirus is a hoax.
This friend doesn’t think it’s real and doesn’t believe people are dying from it. They thought all of the healthcare workers were paid to promote the lockdown and so on. So, Elon’s tweet stunned me.
However, having interacted with Elon online many times from my old and now-suspended account, I know that Elon is one of those rare good people who is motivated by his heart and not greed.
When he spoke his mind during the earnings call yesterday, you could hear the emotion in his voice. You could hear just how much he cared and this emotion was why he tweeted that.
“While Tesla will weather the storm, there are many small companies that will not. Everything people have worked for their whole life is being destroyed in real-time, and we have many suppliers that are having super-hard times, especially the small ones. It’s causing a lot of strife to a lot of people.”
Many were upset with Elon when he tweeted — I thought he’d been hacked, and several other notable fans thought so too — because he echoed what many extreme right-wingers have been saying and acting out in various ways as well. By extreme right-wingers, I mean those who storm state capitals with guns while the state police are having to protect the governor from an angry, armed mob of Trump supporters.
And we know Elon Musk is not this extreme. However, his tweets made shockwaves. After the initial shock, it is clear to see that Elon opened up a dialogue between two groups who continue to try to silence the other while screaming their point. This is a good thing. Many in the world who see eye to eye on topics they are passionate about disagree on this, and that stimulated a more honest and less inflamed dialogue (in some cases).
Elon amplified the voice of many who are scared that our rights are being violated. These voices have in a sense been silenced by the left with the accusation, “you don’t have the right to spread the virus.”
The truth is, we all want things to go back to some form of normalcy. No one wants to spread this virus, but no one wants to be homeless, either. Take it from me — it’s not fun.
When he tweeted, Elon Musk completely shocked the world into silence for a moment. I may disagree with Elon — we shouldn’t open NOW — but he made me realize that I, too, wasn’t really listening to some of my friends as they expressed concerns about “the government wanting to take our rights away.”
Why I Disagree With Elon Musk On Reopening America NOW
I think we should reopen cautiously. What I mean is that, as we reopen, we need to keep in mind that our very breath could spread this virus. But before we do this, we have to agree that the virus is real. There is a major misinformation campaign spreading like wildfire that suggests the coronavirus is a hoax created by the government to keep you locked inside.
This was the debate with a friend I was having when Elon’s tweet lit up my phone. “We need to free America now and stop believing the hoax!” right when Elon Musk tweeted, “FREE AMERICA NOW.” Several friends have fallen victim to these groups.
These same extreme groups have been protesting all over the country and even told one ICU nurse who has been treating Covid-19 patients that she was a fake nurse.
When I was sick and treated at Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center here, my X-ray tech was crying. She echoed what another ICU worker in New Orleans said about it being a war zone. I also have friends working in healthcare and they have all shared similar stories of horror due to this virus.
I am in a different world seeing this from the perspective of healthcare workers and some are dying. Some in their early 20's are dying. This list is updated every day.https://t.co/dqJglzqZ31
— Wade Anderson (@wadeanderson) May 1, 2020
To me, this is why Elon Musk’s tweets were so shocking. It seemed as if he was listening to those saying that it’s a fake virus and seems that he can’t see what’s going on around him — at a distance, but right here in the USA. This is why I disagree with him on reopening America. I support him and always will — and it’s okay to disagree with someone you look up to because, in the end, we are all human. No one is better than anyone else.
What Elon seemed to be missing is that there is another issue that needs to be addressed if we are going to reopen this country. This issue is poverty, which leads to a lack of adequate healthcare.
Poverty And Lack Of Adequate Healthcare
Millions, like myself, are uninsured. I can’t afford the lowest premium that was quoted for me by Healthcare.gov ($485 a month). I make too much money to qualify for Medicaid (or Medicare — whichever one it is that covers insurance of those making under a certain amount of money).
Those in poverty are often working 2–3 minimum wage jobs and can’t afford insurance. Many often make too much money to qualify for any type of aid. And for those insured, they can’t afford to take off work to go to the doctor.
Many minimum wage jobs don’t provide insurance, while overworking their employees. Elon Musk and others who can afford healthcare may not understand this because they have this luxury — yes, it’s a luxury in America. I don’t hate him for having it, but when one has certain privileges or luxuries, they often are unable to see the points of view of those who don’t have the same thing. How much do tens of millions of Americans who don’t have health insurance fear getting a virus that could kill them?
While millions have filed for unemployment, and while businesses are facing bankruptcy and closure, families are going without food despite the fact that many farmers have to destroy their crops due to lack of the appropriate buyers (restaurants and corporations, for example). Yes, we desperately need to reopen, but if we don’t do so the right way, then the cost will be higher — as in, it will cost more than the 60,000 Americans who have already died from this virus.
The truth is that I don’t think America is ready to completely reopen right this very second. Perhaps we should take Louisiana’s approach. Our governor here has extended social distancing requirements until May 15 but has also eased some of the restrictions.
We can now go to restaurants, pick up our food, and sit at the tables outside and eat — at some restaurants. Malls are allowed to provide curbside delivery for those shopping online. He also mandated that everyone serving the public should be wearing a mask. And we have to wear them when we leave our homes. This makes sense.
This virus has proven to be a daunting challenge for the world. However, those of us here in America are taught that we are free and big government has no right to restrict our freedoms. In my opinion, as we sit here in our homes complaining about being locked in, we should consider those without homes. They don’t even have running water.
We should consider ourselves blessed that we have a safe place to lay our heads at night and don’t have to worry about some random cop waking you up while you still have a few hours before your shift starts.
Before we reopen and go back to business as usual, we need to address our lack of adequate healthcare, and the root cause of this is poverty. Until we can stop blaming the poor for being poor and punishing them by deeming them not worthy enough to have access to insurance or medical care , we can’t just go back to business as usual.
Let me give you an example. A server at your favorite restaurant only makes $2.15 an hour and is dependent on tips to pay her rent. She is sick, but can’t afford to take off of work. You, someone who can afford to tip her, may believe that if she doesn’t have insurance, she shouldn’t get access to the same healthcare you enjoy. Also, the politician you voted for gets free healthcare paid by your tax dollars, yet your politician goes on frequent vacations, enjoys golf, and does work for you just a few months out of the year.
When America reopens, we need to make sure all of our citizens have equal access to healthcare — after all, we are supposedly equal, right?
I may disagree with Elon Musk, but I could never hate him. I see his perspective. I only hope that if you are reading this, Elon, you will consider mine and those of us who don’t think reopening in full force is the right thing for the moment. This isn’t a black or white thing, but a grey thing. Each side has valid points and all of them need to be considered.
And for those hating Elon Musk after once admiring him, remember, he too is like us. He is human with emotions, fears, and dreams, and although he may differ in opinion from those of us who disagree with his statements on this, remember that he is the same person who is motivated by love for humanity. He is still the same person who will help if you ask him despite being mocked and criticized so much of the time.
Let us also try to be motivated by love for our neighbors and fellow humans.
Photo by Kyle Field, CleanTechnica