By Dr. Herbert Harris, author of “Solving The Race Issue In America.”
Dr. Martin Luther King clearly understood the profound dilemma confronting America when he wrote his last book – “Where do we go from here: Chaos or Community?”
As I watched and listened to President Joseph Biden call for unity in his inaugural address, I thought: what a great opportunity for democrats and republicans to set aside their differences by focusing on getting through the pandemic and ending the suffering of the American people.
Both parties say they want to end division and create unity.
What a novel idea: put aside conservative and liberal ideologies to deal with the suffering of Americans; put aside red state and blue state concerns to deal with restoring the America dream for all.
Is this patriotic, enlightened approach taking place? What is really going on?
President Biden and the democrats are seeking a 1.9 Trillion Dollar Stimulus package. The funds will be used to fight the virus more effectively, increase direct payments and unemployment benefits, and generally stimulate the economy. The democrats want to reduce deaths from the virus, put food on Americans’ tables, and stop evictions and foreclosures. They also want to provide funds to cash-strapped states, and find creative ways to help small businesses.
How do the republicans respond?
They believe that the democrats’ bill costs too much. Republicans also state that they do not want to give funds to the states – especially the democratic led states. They feel that the democratic states have mismanaged their funds in the past.
Yet, the republicans claim they want unity. What is the monetary value of 400,000 Americans killed by the virus? What is it worth to prevent the starvation and suffering of millions of Americans? Can they put a dollar figure on the thousands of Americans who will die from the virus over the next months?
Consider this: in less than one year, the pandemic has killed more Americans than are buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Where is the same cost consciousness when it comes to buying guns and missiles, or giving tax breaks to the wealthy?
After nearly a year of suffering under the pandemic, the states are struggling to protect their citizens and maintain necessary services.
Let us examine this state-of-affairs considering republican claims of financial mismanagement by the states. Republicans say: “we don’t want to bail them out.”
Whether the states have mismanaged funds in the past should not be the issue now – in the middle of a pandemic, with over 4,000 people dying every day. If republicans are concerned about the American people, let them raise that issue after we have conquered the pandemic.
This republican approach is especially interesting since many of the financial hardships the states are experiencing now is because the former president and his fellow republicans put the responsibility for testing and addressing the suffering caused by the virus on the shoulders of the states.
They put the responsibility for handling the virus on the states, but then refused to provide the necessary funds for the states to handle this responsibility. Unfunded mandates are challenging in normal times. How much more difficult it can be for the states in the middle of a pandemic that has shut down major sectors of the economy and reduced normal revenue streams.
Some leaders allege the states are suffering because of poor financial planning.
Let us be fair. No one, not the states, nor the federal government planned for this pandemic.
Why should the states and its citizens be penalized by the republicans for this unforeseen pandemic by refusing to provide necessary funds to handle it?
To paraphrase a time worn slogan, “no taxation without representation…,” the former president put the states in an “obligation without compensation” situation.
If unity is the order of the day, the first order of business for both democrats and republicans should be to do whatever it takes, for as long as it takes, to overcome this pandemic.
If democrats and republicans are serious about creating unity for the sake of the country and its citizens, they should consider the following:
- Job one should be to stop the suffering and death of the American people at all costs. Nothing else really matters.
- Open the federal check book. Give Americans the extra $1,400 immediately. Give all Americans hope and faith that the democrats and the republicans feel their pain and care about their suffering. This financial gesture will not make Americans lazy, or stop looking for work. It will help keep Americans alive and in their homes. It will let them know that someone cares about their suffering.
Stop all evictions, foreclosures, and other financial hardships that can hurt, damage, or destroy what so many Americans have worked lifetimes to create.
Any funds provided by the federal government to landlords and banks on behalf of suffering citizens can be worked out on the back end, after the pandemic is over.
- Find creative ways to help the 95% of Americans who bear the brunt of this pandemic. The top 1%, or even the top 5% of our citizens will not be as greatly harmed by this pandemic as the 95% of average, every-day, hard-working Americans who are losing their homes, jobs, possessions, and worst of all, hope.
- Provide money to the states, cities, and organizations to stop the bleeding, the suffering, and the dying of good Americans who should not be used as political pawns.
- We have seen the charges against the former president, his enablers, and mob that attacked our government. These matters are currently under investigation by the FBI.
The full extent of the events of January 6, 2021 will be revealed over time. Consider tabling the impeachment for now, by unanimous consent.
- Let democrats and republicans together commit to focus on stopping the suffering of our citizens, overcoming this pandemic, and making America whole again.
When the suffering, pain, and death are under control, and all the facts are in about the mob attacking the capitol, cooler heads can prevail to handle the impeachment issue.
The President, democrats and republicans say that they love our people and our country.
Let them show this love for America by putting aside ideological differences, political polarization, egos, and personal ambitions.
Let them start the healing of the American Democracy – the beacon of light upon the hill.
Let them work together for one common purpose: life, liberty, justice, and the pursuit of happiness for every American.
© 2020 LifeSkill Institute, Inc., PO Box 302, Wilmington, NC 28402
Learn more about the upcoming BIG READ of “Solving The Race Issue In America” at www.solvingtheracissue.net