Op-Ed: Americans Suffering Under Weight of Coronavirus

Op-Ed: Americans Suffering Under Weight of Coronavirus

(UnitedVoice.com) – Americans are suffering under the weight of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of us are stuck at home in quarantine. Some people are extremely sick. A few are dying and families are heartbroken. The new jobless claims report was released on Thursday morning and it was devastating. If that’s not enough, some state governors are violating civil liberties and the Constitution under the guise of protecting us.

Just one of these issues is a lot to absorb. Two is challenging. Three is flat out overwhelming. Yet, all is not lost. Americans are suffering, but there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Balancing Lives and Livelihoods

The president and governors across the country have an impossible job. On the one hand, they have to protect lives. In February and March, there was no way of knowing how the COVID-19 virus was going to affect the country. All that was known based on the rapid global spread of the disease was that it was killing a lot of people. Without knowledge or scientific data, governors shut down state economies and ordered shelter-in-place rules to protect public safety.

It made sense. Americans understood and accepted what was at stake. We were told that drastic short-term measures were necessary to “flatten the curve” and protect lives.

On the other hand, what has ensued since is the total financial devastation of the economy. Our elected leaders knew it could happen. That’s why they spent trillions of tax dollars in rescue stimulus bills for individuals and businesses. The goal was to protect jobs and help people get through the pandemic.

Five weeks later, the economy is tail spinning as some economists predict the country may already be in a depression. On Thursday, the Department of Labor reported that 4.4 million people filed new unemployment claims last week. That brings the total current unemployment figures to over 26 million unemployed Americans. Ultimately, our current situation could exceed unemployment during the Great Depression. The numbers reported on Thursday, April 23, don’t include all of those who are self-employed or freelancers as some states are just beginning to accept their claims.

Overhanded Government Is Not the Answer

From Michigan to Louisiana and New York to California, cases are being reported of state and local governments violating Constitutional rights to protect us from COVID-19. On Tuesday, US Attorney General William Barr said the Constitution wasn’t nullified because of the pandemic. He warned states that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will join in lawsuits filed by citizens if state and local governments violate their constitutional rights. Barr further said that some governors have created oppressive and burdensome orders that are akin to “house arrest” and the DOJ is watching closely.

Balancing public safety and protecting the Constitution should not be mutually exclusive. Americans are suffering under the weight of COVID-19. Amidst the human and financial suffering, the federal, state, and local governments shouldn’t be making the situation harder or worse than it has to be.

Hope and Opportunity

The problems we are now faced with don’t have simple solutions. Americans are coming together and we are doing our part to find those answers. We need the government at all levels to work with us and do their part. Once this is over, it’s going to take all of us working together to rebuild the economy, our dreams, and our lives.

Americans will do what we’ve always done once this is behind us. Entrepreneurs and innovators will discover new business opportunities. Some people will choose not to go back to work and instead follow a dream and start a business. Others will seek training and find a better job that will be in demand.

This is a new test and we are ready to meet the challenge. Together, we can show the world what American exceptionalism really looks like.

By Don Purdum, Freelance Contributor

The above opinions are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of the publisher.

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