by E. Faye Williams
(TriceEdneyWire.com)—Demos is a Greek word which refers to the common people of a nation, the populace. It is the root word for many other words to which we often refer. Democratic, Demonstrations, Demonstrators, Demography, Demographics, Demographer, Demobilize and Democracy are some of those terms which come to mind.
Ideally and in the scheme of history, Democracy is a noble idea. The concept of government based upon mutuality and, ostensibly, the belief in the will of the majority of citizens is, theoretically, preferable to any other form of government.
As a principle of Democracy, mutuality is one that my observations determine is more often forgotten or ignored. With the extremely rare exception, no one individual can afford to build or maintain the thoroughfares that take us to and from work. Our public schools are established with the understanding that while we cannot individually afford to finance teachers or facilities, with each of us paying a smaller amount, we can collectively educate our children. The same principles apply to public safety, national defense, and disaster preparation/management. Despite naysayers, one of the important elements of Democracy is the implied collaborative agreement that we will work to achieve and “provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty.”
We are at war with COVID. Without regard to gender, race, ethnicity, or nationality this disease is challenging the health and welfare of everyone on earth. Unfortunately, while COVID is a world-wide problem, the United States is currently at ground-zero for infections and death. The necessity for social distancing in a COVID environment has wreaked havoc on economies and the people attempting to survive under deteriorating financial conditions. Yet many refuse to acknowledge the common threat facing us all. Even dying COVID patients reportedly express disbelief in the disease or its ability to kill.
I have always believed that effective communication is essential to problem solving. I value those attempting to accurately describe the nature of the problem with all participants agreeing that problem resolution is the bottom-line goal. It is problematic that those currently responsible for COVID policy management and implementation fail to acknowledge the need for earnest action.
Beyond contracting the disease is the problem of surviving secondary impacts of the disease. Unemployment and lack of funds spawn increasing food insecurity (starvation) and threats of homelessness. Every day, those blessed with an operating television see the surface of suffering by our fellow citizens. Listening to the news daily, I anxiously await a report that the Senate and House have reconciled their differences and that a new economic package is on the way to the White House for signature. Each day, I am met with the disturbing news that Mitch McConnell and his Republican cronies have identified another obstacle in the pathway to mitigating the economic pain that is now common to so many. What is worse is a President who has abandoned all leadership responsibilities in quest of reversing an election he has unquestionably lost.
Incidentally, the current Republican COVID response presents ample reason to flip the Senate with the election of Warnock and Ossoff in Georgia. Let us all encourage that outcome!
As we approach the winter recess, I wonder what we will face if Congress fails to act before reconvening in January. Will Congress return to a nation that only requires a small nudge to get things moving again? Or will we face a situation so dire as to threaten our internal order and security? Will politicians allow our nation to devolve into social and economic chaos?
I pray our national circumstance will not deteriorate to the point of needing incalculable relief. The consequences of benign neglect should already be emblazoned in our memories!
(Dr. E. Faye Williams is President of the National Congress of Black Women.)