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OPINION

EDITORIAL: Second wave of pandemic requires second wave of help for Americans

Mike Christopherson

It certainly isn’t one of their strongest songs, but if you’re of a certain age demographic you’re aware of the 1977 Little River Band song “Hang On” that was actually a pretty big hit for them.

The chorus goes like this: “Hang on, help is on it’s way. I’ll be there as fast as I can.”

During the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic when numbers soared and the economy was largely shuttered, American households and businesses hung on and they got some help from their government. We can argue until we’re blue in the face over how well-intentioned or effective the help was – too many who didn’t need help got a lot of help, and too many who needed help didn’t get near enough, if any – but at least the federal government did something.

Have you spent all of your $1,200 from last spring yet? Or were you saving it for Christmas shopping?

Jokes. Both questions, entirely attempts at gallows humor...

We knew for months, even as the closing of schools and businesses seemed to flatten the curve, that a “second wave” of the pandemic was coming. How could it not? You shut things down, numbers are going to come down accordingly. You start to open things up again, and numbers are going to, in turn, rise. It’s as elementary of a formula as you’ll ever find, but, even so, all the experts agreed and made sure that everyone knew the pandemic was going to heat up again.

So we’re all in “hang-on” mode again, as the tune goes, but this time, help isn’t on its way. While other governments across the globe commit themselves to a continued and consistent pattern of financial assistance for their citizens, in the United States during this second wave, our government is doing nothing to help anyone. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell simply sent everyone home.

So we’re going to wait until inauguration day on Jan. 20, 2021 for more help to be on its way? That’s the plan? How’s everyone going to be doing by that time? And if the two runoff elections in Georgia earlier in January go in the Republicans’ favor and the Senate stays under Republican control, are we to expect that McConnell’s heart will suddenly expand by three sizes and that he’ll giddily reach across the aisle and get American citizens and businesses the help they need?

Not being able to score a touchdown one millimeter from the goal line certainly isn’t only a Republican calamity. Democrats, too, love to bloat what should be obvious bipartisan supported relief bills with unrelated partisan matters that don’t have a chance of passing on their own. It’s a practice that is wholly unnecessary, and especially during a pandemic like this, should have those guilty of committing such acts escorted from their posh offices by security.

But simply dismissing this in-your-face disregard for serving your constituents and helping your citizenry by throwing up your arms and saying “The system is broken” isn’t going to cut it. Helping a populace in desperate need is easy, it’s a slam dunk. Are we suddenly so concerned with our nation’s debt? Is that it? Forget it. Print the money. Help your people. They will appreciate it.