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Readers on Schools #4

January 10, 2022 12:18 p.m.

TPM Reader GE‘s emails started with a headline “pandemic of the working class” and then referenced a tweet that referenced the same argument …

I am a 69 year old physician who my hospital “aged” me out of in-patient care at beginning of pandemic. I still have frightening outpatient exposures, and I saw/see my younger colleagues recover after they get sick, despite vaccines.  I also have 4 children, 2 of whom are in-classroom teachers, and grandchildren attending in-person classes.   There is a huge element of unfairness in the workforce today, and I foresee a future bitterness that could explode.

I had a back and forth with GE over this to try to frame the point. What we’re describing here isn’t ‘working class’ precisely, a phrase usually defined in occupational and educational terms while also signifying a set of cultural values. After all, a physician is definitionally not ‘working class’. What we’re describing here is a stark divide between people who can relocate their work and in most cases work from home and those who – in the nature of the work – cannot. In that sense, physicians and really all health care workers, educators and various caregiving and mission-driven jobs fall on the ‘in person’ side of this divide – even though some are highly educated and highly paid. However you define it or what labels you use it is a stark divide in terms of how people have experienced the pandemic, what life or political lessons they’ve drawn from it and how those views impact the future.

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