Many times I have lamented that our nation had become so divided and confrontational that it would take a national emergency to unite us once again. The coronavirus pandemic emerged and suddenly Americans seemed to have a common enemy to fight. Pathogens are indiscriminate, they don’t care what your political or religious affiliation happens to be. They do prefer to attack the most vulnerable of the population, usually that means the elderly and those with chronic diseases or weakened immune systems. Recent statistics have also suggested that men are more susceptible to the infection both with respect to numbers infected and mortality from the infection. There is an old expression that “men are the weaker sex.” There may be some scientific validity to that statement since the Y chromosome that determines the male sex lacks certain genetic material. That genetic “absence” makes men more susceptible to sex-linked disorders and defects than women. The belief that women have a stronger (or more aggressive) immune system means that they are more likely to suffer from autoimmune diseases (when the body turns on itself). The same aggressive immune system may make them less susceptible to the coronavirus. There are certainly other factors to consider in the statistical imbalance such as: men tend to utilize preventive health care less, smoke more and often have other co-morbidities (hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, COPD). This was a true opportunity for the country to work together and help one another. But what began as an opportunity to unite the country has resorted to the same old song.
With everything but essential services being shut down, our economy has nearly ground to a halt. Many hourly workers are unable to report to work and those in the service and transportation industries have been particularly hard hit. Small businesses could go bankrupt and everyone in both parties believe there is an urgent need to bring financial relief to workers and prevent businesses from failing. Both the House and Senate had been working on bills to help workers and businesses. It looked as if something would be quickly passed and money would be flowing to those most in need. Unfortunately politics won the day and Democrats and Republicans could not come to agreement on final bills. Schumer does not want ANY relief for big business and Pelosi wants PERMANENT changes to unemployment (and God knows what else). Several Republican Senators have been quarantined since testing positive for COVID-19 so Schumer suddenly feels he is in control of the Senate. Instead of concern for their constituents, Pelosi and Schumer seem to be looking to make political gains out of a crisis. They follow the old saying, “never let a crisis go to waste.” It is shameful to delay help for people who are without a paycheck. The need to put food on the table and pay the mortgage or rent and other bills remains. I feel Congressional pay should be withheld until relief is passed for everyone else who is suffering through this crisis.