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We Can’t Sit This Out

If COVID-19 has revealed anything about the American political arena, I think it’s safe to say that it’s in serious need of systemic reform and radical transformation. This crisis has revealed the devastating consequences of blatantly politicized media and its role in the spread of misinformation, the flaws in our healthcare system and it has also permitted the outright abuse of political authority. The response to this pandemic has cracked the very foundations of our Constitution and democracy, setting dangerous precedents that cannot and must not be tolerated.

Partisanship and the absolute disregard for human life have obscured the ability to offer comprehensive relief to our sick, our healthcare workers, our “unskilled laborers,” our youth and to our unemployed. Although the recent stimulus package offers a one-time payment of $1,200 to adults with an annual salary of less than $75K, it’s not nearly enough to cover the expenses people often incur such as monthly rent or mortgage payments (Steve Mnuchin seems to think otherwise). And while corporations are entitled around 25% of the budget for bailouts, public health services and programs receive less than 10% of the allotted funds.

Thousands of people are dying every day. Doctors, nurses, paramedics and EMTs risk their lives as they tend to the sick. Warehouse workers, delivery drivers, cashiers and grocery store employees are being worked to the bone. And as we think about their sacrifices and the true gravity of this situation, shouldn’t we realize that all of us deserve better? We deserve accountability. We deserve support. We deserve compassion.

This administration ignored the warning signs, misled us and brought us to the dire situation we’re in today. And even now, they continue to ignore the advice and recommendations of physicians and scientists. This crisis keeps telling us that something needs to change. We should be entitled to a responsible government and empathetic representatives that are aware and attentive of their constituents’ needs, not the billionaires and corporations. Now more than ever, we need universal healthcare, paid sick leave, affordable housing and a living minimum wage because the people in this country are barely staying afloat.

Even though this upcoming presidential election continues to become more and more disheartening, we can’t afford to sit it out. Set your sights on the local and congressional races in your district and state, seek out the responsible and trustworthy candidates and do everything in your power to support their campaigns. All hope is not lost yet. We must make our voices heard and we must deliver our ballots in November. The momentum is building and we’re just at the threshold of making incredible change possible.

Niki is a third-year student at UMKC pursuing double majors in history and English along with a minor in film studies. Outside of writing and re-watching her favorite Tom Cruise movies, you can find her listening to audiobooks while on strolls through the park or walks around her neighborhood. She enjoys talking about travel, literature, health, wellness, and skincare and can never turn down a good cup of tea.
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