As I write this, those of us who survive, subsist, and maintain without life-threatening effects of the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic are held in rapt attention to the goings on of the 2020 presidential campaign.
Most question how and when they will participate in the election process which is easily the most important in anyone’s lifetime. Many of us have already voted and others have developed or are developing their own personalized plan to vote.
Those paying close attention are receiving a civics lesson of unprecedented detail.
Voter suppression depression
We listen to news of voter suppression by the USPS and the potential for future litigation related to their mail processing. Mechanical zip code readers and other machines designed to expedite mail delivery have been dismantled and removed from processing stations.
Delivery procedures have been modified to facilitate a slow-down in mail movement. These factors in USPS mail handling have been used to discredit the viability of mail-in ballots.
Without surprise concerning the news, we have been reintroduced to the incivility of #45 and for the genuine disgust and disdain he has demonstrated for the average citizen. He has used citizens as cannon fodder in his war on COVID by lying to the nation, negating the severity of the disease, and denying the full range of negative outcomes with exposure.
He has manipulated the distribution of medical supplies essential for waging the war on the
disease and has short-changed “Blue” states in the process. He has allegedly called military servicemembers – both living and dead – suckers and losers for their sacrifice of service and lives to the nation.
Along with election news, these indignities have taken center stage on the consciousness of many Americans.
We have become so conditioned to the worst of #45, that the disclosure of his tax evasion seemed normal. The only related concern is the discovery that he owes one-half billion dollars to an unknown lender. Even Stevie wonder can see the potential for coercion and threats to national security.
It’s difficult to call these current events “distractions,” but for millions they divert critical attention from uncontrollable circumstances thrust upon them by a once-in-a-lifetime event.
The real dilemmas
Whatever the motivation, many, especially the Republican Senate majority, have seemingly forgotten the plight of millions of Americans who either teeter close to the edge of financial ruin or who have fallen off the cliff of financial and emotional despair.
Moscow Mitch and his minions in the Senate have had multiple opportunities to address their plight but have turned a blind eye to relief legislation delivered to them by the House of Representatives.
Republicans have ignored the fundamental survival needs of those forced into unemployment and/or who have been displaced, or face pandemic related displacement.
In the face of a disaster of epic proportions, it is shameful that some legislators who are supposedly dedicated to defend the welfare of their constituents have chosen to either block or take no action to provide them minimal financial security.
It is shameful that these same legislators use Wall Street as an indicator of national health instead of assessing how many children are going to bed hungry as a more realistic measure. For these transgressions, I criticize and condemn the Republican senate.
I am not one to criticize without a remedy in mind.
I offer to you that those of us who have not forgotten the circumstance of our fellow citizens of lesser means have a duty to call or write to challenge those in power (who either ignore or forget them) to stop pointless debates and take actions to relieve the misery.
If they do not, we not only face a COVID pandemic, but an epidemic of homelessness, hunger, and hopelessness.
Dr. E. Faye Williams is national chair of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc. Contact her via www.nationalcongressbw.org.