Georgians are in crisis. Much like the rest of America, an America beset by a global pandemic that’s rocked our nation the hardest, an America dealing with the painful woes of its own inability to mount a response to that pandemic, and the economic fallout of having the President of the United States fall asleep at the wheel.
Georgia is no peachy paradise of good times and carefree laughs, no matter how much Republican Governor Brian Kemp wanted it to be.
In the beginning, Georgia was a state whose Republican leadership was steadfast in its insistence on prioritizing the economy over the public health of its population. As Republican lawmakers flaunted the severity of the threat with a staunch dismissal of the gravity of the situation, COVID-19 had other ideas. They likely believed as Trump had said, that the pandemic would someday “just disappear”, and all would presumably go back to normal again.
As early as April 24th, Georgia was already re-opening salons and gyms as the pandemic was just ramping up. It was the first state to do so, as Governor Brian Kemp and Republicans tried to cozy up to a Trump administration in denial, fearful of the backlash of a President who carried more sway than all of them combined with their own party in the very states they govern.
It was Georgia’s great experiment in human sacrifice, sacrificing not to any immortal gods, but to the dogmatic belief in the free market and science denialism. It’s one that will go down in history as one of the most reckless acts the Republican Party has committed, and Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, both of whom are running for re-election, signed off on the idea.
You might remember that as early as March, Loeffler and Perdue are accused to have illegally sold off millions of dollars of stock each, just as the pandemic was ramping up, stock sales — and two purchases, in the case of Loeffler — that point to possible insider trading.
Raphael Warnock, Kelly Loeffler’s challenger in the upcoming Georgia Senate race on January 5th, has spoken out against her questionably legal sales of her stock — just as John Ossoff, David Perdue’s challenger, has done the same. Meanwhile, the state of the U.S. Senate hangs in the balance.
On January 5th, the United States Senate will either flip over and into Democratic hands or it won’t. The future of the American government hangs on this one election.
Both Loeffler and Perdue would need to lose in order for that to happen, as both candidates losing would result in a Senatorial tie that could be broken by the vote of the Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.
All of this is taking place in the midst of the aforementioned pandemic that has rocked our nation, not just physically and emotionally, but financially. Americans are struggling. 33 million Americans have lost their job during the pandemic.
According to Pew Research Center, in the early days of the outbreak, 28% of Americans had lost their jobs and a massive 43% had lost their jobs or have seen a significant decrease in their income, as early as April. And now, Americans who received some beneficial government help back in those early days of the pandemic, are starting to see those benefits expire.
It was urgent that congress passed relief to bail out the millions of Americans who are struggling financially and those who are unemployed. Congress recently passed a slap-in-the-face of a measure, one that gave every American a one-time payment of $600 and other financial support through programs like expanded unemployment and the funding of state and local governments.
In the immediate aftermath of the passage of the paltry bill, one that will barely help a single American pay a single one of their most crucial bills, President Trump called the bill “a disgrace”, even if his own party — along with his own negotiator, Steve Mnuchin — drafted it themselves. Trump now demands that $2,000, and not $600, be paid to every single American.
Americans are overwhelmingly outraged at McConnell’s willingness to tie up coronavirus relief aid and not even allow it to be voted on.
House Democrats, not missing a beat, immediately put forth a bill that would give $2,000 checks to every single American who’s been crushed by the pandemic. The bill passed quickly and moved onto the senate. And here’s where the story gets really interesting.
While it might seem at first like Loeffler and Purdue, both in the final days of their Senate races, agreed with the heavily Democratic idea of giving blamelessly desperate Americans $2,000 to help them make it through, there’s more than meets the eye.
Perdue has been rather mum on the issue. And only now, the day that Mitch McConnell shot the bill down by refusing to take it to a vote, did Loeffler come out and say she’d support such a bill if it were put to a vote.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the isle, Senator Bernie Sanders and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi are emphatically pushing McConnell to take the $2,000 relief bill to a vote. Bernie Sanders is using the filibuster to uphold defense spending in order to do so. And even the former Republican Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, is begging Mitch McConnell to put the bill to a vote and at least try to help the American people.
Everyone in their right minds can see what Mitch McConnell is doing and it’s morally aprehensible and they’re speaking out against it. But Loeffler and Purdue? Where’s their pressure? Where is their outrage? Where is their fighting for the very Georgians who’d elected them in the first place?
Bernie Sanders, Nancy Pelosi, and Chuck Schumer aren’t my representatives. Newt Gingrich certainly isn’t. The man has been retired from political life for years now. But still, I feel a deep appreciation for their efforts to try to get our government working again, a government that’s been broken single-handedly by the Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell. And where are Loeffler and Perdue?
It seems to me, they’re likely more concerned with winning their own races and not getting the American people the help they so desperately need.
Saying that you’d sign a bill a few hours before your own party’s majority leader refuses to take it to a vote isn’t fighting for that bill to be passed. That’s McConnell, smart enough to know that Loeffler and Purdue can’t afford to be seen as agents in the obstruction of government relief for the desperate and hurting Americans across this nation, taking all the heat and allowing the Senators still in races to half-heartedly pretend that they care. They don’t.
Mitch McConnell is providing them covering fire so they can coast through their own elections. Time will tell if the Democrats can unseat them.