Under our nation's shiny exterior lies a cracked foundation and poor bone structure.

They're saying that the United States was already a deeply flawed country, maybe even a broken country right below it's shiny exterior, and that the COVID-19 pandemic and the supremely misguided response by our nation's leadership is simply bearing those flaws for its citizens and all the world to see.

Nowhere is that more apparent than when you consider our nation's legislative branch. The processes by which our Congress goes about its business, with endless streams of special interest money flowing into legislators' coffers every day dictating what advances and what does not and lawmakers more interested in being re-elected than helping people, should embarrass them and enrage us.

Legislation is crafted mostly by people who want to make sure it is, when it comes to actual substance and impact, barely worth the paper it's written on. Bills are hundreds and hundreds of pages long, as thick as the thickest dictionary you can think of, so that every last legal loophole and kickback are included. More things unrelated to the original legislation are shoved in at the last minute, secretly behind closed doors, and we end up with hundreds of lawmakers voting on something that they haven't had time to barely skim, but they wouldn't do much more than skim it even if they had ample time.

And that's in normal times. This pandemic, which has required Congress to assemble "emergency" legislation to help the country in extremely rapid fashion, has shown just how backwards and illogically and without common sense that our leaders go about doing the work of the country.

Hundreds of billions of dollars are included in a $2 trillion-plus stimulus bill to help small businesses nationwide somehow navigate their way through this crisis, so that if and when a degree of normalcy ensues, they'll still be able to open their doors. But it's a first come, first serve application process and the money evaporates rapidly, and countless mom and pop operations don't see a dime.

So what happened? Well, how about this example: Somewhere buried in the bullet-points and subheads and addendums and whatnot, what qualifies as an actual "small" business was allowed to get a little murky. Somehow, a "small" business came to be defined as any business that has less than 500 employees at any single location. So a "small" business suddenly came to include a restaurant chain with franchises dotting the United States from sea to shining sea.

This is about more than our president mumbling, rumbling, stumbling and bumbling his way through this mess. This is about our nation's bones. You see all of these home improvement shows on TV, and all anyone talks about is whether or not, beyond what the eye can actually see, a house has good "bones."

Our nation's bones are brittle. They were barely holding together, all fragile and creaky, before the calendar turned to 2020, and now they're fracturing and crumbling. We have everything a nation could ever want, with brilliant people doing brilliant things every moment of every day. But our foundation isn't holding up. This pandemic has made that all too clear.