Op-EdOpinion

WILLIAMS: What More Can We Expect?

As I write today, our nation has reached significant milestones, which in their differences are connected. We’ve experienced the loss of a QUARTER-MILLION Americans to COVID-19. We’ve moved past an infection total of 12 million. This upswing in the disease has overburdened and threatens to break our health care system. Under the weight of COVID-19, many hospitals are unable to provide for “routine” care, including accidents and emergencies. These facts often leave the level of stress upon our nation’s health care providers ignored and underreported.

Consolation for those facts rests in the report that Pfizer and Moderna pharmaceuticals are ready to request emergency use for vaccines with 95% claimed effectiveness in laboratory tests. That good news poses the challenge of developing a viable plan for production, distribution and administration of the vaccine to over 330 million people. Forthcoming vaccines cannot ease the pain of loss, but there is some emotional relief for potential protection against this deadly menace.

Concurrent with the clinical impact of COVID-19, the nation teeters on the edge of disease-related economic devastation. The disease has created major impacts on workers and essential businesses in almost every sector of our economy. Reduced demand for travel services (air, rail, hotel, etc.) have sidelined equipment and personnel in a limbo of undetermined duration and depth. Our restaurant industry has been among the hardest-hit by closures ordered for the cause of reasonable health practices. Economic uncertainties created by the disease generally reduce demand for all goods and services and the personnel required to support production, sales and delivery. Excluding the wealthy or those with specialized technologically essential skills, COVID-19 has had an unquestionably negative economic impact on millions of citizens.

I’m struck by the insufficient emphasis placed on COVID-19’s impact on education. While school infection rates and clinical safety protocols are debated, funds to refit schools and protect teachers are on-pause. As a result, many school districts are faced with the question of whether to start, close or restart in-person teaching. For most, these stop-again, start-again options construct a learning foundation which can only be described as uncertain.

Overreaching all these facts is the outcome of a national election, contested only in the mind of “THE LOSER” and the actions of those who give him their nominal support. And this brings me to my starting point for the week. I hold certain that at noon on Jan. 20, 2021, we will celebrate a new president and administration. I’m also certain that a significant portion of the 74 million voters for “THE LOSER” will deliver nonstop resistance to President Biden.

Observations of the Obama administration inform me that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, orchestrator of opposition, will remain as an obstructionist against President Biden. With political philosophies complementary to the dictator he serves, McConnell has:

– Loaded federal courts with (many unqualified) conservative appointees.

– Stolen two SCOTUS nominations.

– Withheld Senate action for 6-plus months on a stimulus (economic relief) package submitted by the House of Representatives.

– Emphasized policies beneficial to the wealthy and demonstrated little or no concern for the welfare of the ordinary citizen.

Removal of McConnell as Senate majority leader is the only viable change required for the accomplishment of progressive aims of the new administration.

We can:

– Support Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff in the Georgia Senate runoff elections.
– Donate to their campaigns.
– Encourage every eligible Georgian to register and vote.
– If a Georgia resident, VOTE!!!

Remember, voter registration deadline for the January runoff is Dec. 7. Voting in this runoff is more important than you think. It transcends where we live. Our opponents know this, and we must show that we know this, too!

Williams is president of the National Congress of Black Women.

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