Give thanks for the vaccines, the investments in the American people and those who fight against gerrymandering

“Frown your forehead.” The frequent remonstrances of my mother to her easily passionate daughter. I need a lot of reminder. I have felt like I have been rubbing my forehead nonstop for almost two years in a row. But on Turkey Day, I’m going to take a moment, if not all day, to untie that front and give thanks for the small victories.

Last November, the wave of COVID-19 was brutal. The grim doubling and tripling of cases, hospitalizations and deaths has wreaked havoc across the country. December is said to be the deadliest and most contagious month of the pandemic in 2020. January began the new year by setting the monthly record for the most deaths since the pandemic has begun.

Fast forward to November 2021. A vaccine to end the plague that has killed more than 770,000 Americans in 20 months is available and free for every five years and up. This science has produced safe and effective immunization against the coronavirus in month compared to the years is simply miraculous. That the Biden administration has produced an effective nationwide distribution system to get shots fired as quickly as possible is nothing short of a godsend. Over 450 million life-saving doses have been administered and are counting. This Thanksgiving 195 million Americans will sit down to dinner fully immunized.

Recognize the progress made. To that end, I am also grateful to the members of Congress who work every day to do something for the people they serve. In March, Democrats passed and President Biden enacted a law, a COVID-19 aid plan that brought much-needed relief to millions of Americans with direct stimulus checks and federal unemployment benefits. prolonged emergency.

The America Rescue Plan included funding for hard-hit states and local governments, COVID-19 vaccines and tests, and more. He reduced child poverty in half expanding a child tax credit program to more families and increasing the tax credit. He added funds to reopen schools safely, help small businesses survive the pandemic and feed desperate households with increased benefits in food stamps through September.

Biden’s relief policy has provided a vital lifeline for many in a once-in-a-century public health crisis. Not a single Republican in Congress, even those who later bragged about his advantages to voters, voted in favor.

I am extremely grateful that Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill has finally been enacted because it will create good paying jobs in Ohio and help the economy grow. The new measure, which is opposed by all except a Republican in the Ohio Congressional delegation, includes billions to repair state highways, notorious bridges, public transportation, water systems, modernize airports, and expand broadband. The inauguration of certain projects could start as early as next year.

For those fighting the good fight on another bill, one of the most important measures in decades, designed especially for young families and older Americans, a standing ovation is in order. The inimitable President Nancy Pelosi deserves sustained applause for leading the centerpiece of Biden’s national agenda through to passage in the House. It has provisions that are high on the priority list of ordinary Americans struggling to afford housing, child care, out-of-pocket health care, prescription drugs, hearing aids, and health care. residence. It also includes the biggest investment already slow global warming with aggressive incentives for clean energy.

The game-changing bill faces a difficult road in the Senate, but we owe a debt of gratitude to those who fight tirelessly on our behalf, those who are not afraid to push the forefront of the companies protecting the status quo that pollutes the environment and ruins the middle class.

So are the tireless souls who stand up against injustice in this state and country. Those who walk for the systematically beaten and discriminated against Americans born with the wrong color of skin in a society that tolerates white supremacy. Those who refused to overturn the Ohio Board of Education resolution condemning racism and addressing racial disparities in Ohio schools following the murder of George Floyd last year. They had to resign for defending an anti-racism commitment – let this sink – but did not go quietly into the night. We heard their dissent and thanked them for it.

We also deeply appreciate the efforts of individuals and groups who tackle gerrymandering in the courts and with the Freedom to Vote Act in Congress. What Ohio Republicans did last week to rig the cards of Congressional districts with up to 80% to 87% party advantage – in a state fairly balanced between Republican and Democratic voters – was outrageous . What the Ohio Republicans at the Statehouse and in the Governor’s Mansion have done to all of us who have amended the constitution to end partisan gerrymandering that “unduly favors or disfavors a political party or its incumbents,” is a motive. for a voter revolt in 2022. I am indebted to every citizen who shows up, makes appeals or joins protests for demand a voice in government with a fair, transparent and representative redistribution.

It’s hard to crease my brow with democracy under attack, autocracy on the rise, and insanity as the new abnormal. But if you’ve read this far and still care, God bless you and thank you.

It did, mom.

This commentary was originally published by the Ohio Capital Journal, an affiliate of the nonprofit States Newsroom, which includes the Louisiana Illuminator.

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