Things in America Are Going to Get Much Worse If We Do Not Act Now.

You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

image by Travis Gergen from Unsplash.com

America has surpassed 2 million coronavirus cases, with the virus peaking in almost half of states nationwide. Though many of our lawmakers and their corporate overlords who want the masses back to work would like us to believe it, this is nowhere near over.

We could potentially reach 200,000 deaths by early fall.

Elected officials like our very own Trump press you to believe that the worst is behind us, but in reality, the surface has barely been scratched.

The freeze on eviction? That is currently in the process of being lifted across various states. This means that those without jobs and unable to pay their rent, or, maybe even some of those with jobs but who are barely scraping by, may suddenly find themselves out on the streets. It is not unlikely that America’s streets may soon fill with homeless people.

Consider student loan debt, a chokehold around the necks of a majority of young Americans. Come this fall, when they are forced to resume paying on those loans? Some of these young adults may not have jobs, or, are in precarious situations financially because of COVID that make then unable to pay. This may then ruin their credit, it might result in a default on loans, it will make being able to manage paying their other bills (like rent and food) that much harder.

Forbes Magazine states that some 42% of the jobs that have vanished during this pandemic are going to be lost for good. This means higher competition for the jobs that remain. It means far more people collecting unemployment and struggling to find work again. It means more pressure and weight on the already buckling unemployment system.

I just spoke with a man the other day, I’ll call him Griff, who works for the Spare Change paper in Boston, MA. He told me how he’d filed for unemployment back in March and had yet to receive a single payment. He logged into his account, without my asking, proceeding to show me. He scrolled down the screen, on which I saw various dates throughout March, April, May, all of them with an amount next to it (about $600), and with the word “pending” alongside. He has not received a dime.

I asked him, “but how are you surviving…?”

He gestured, “this.” Selling his newspaper for $2 a pop, from which I believe he gets $1 per paper. That is his income.

He told me he is behind three months on rent, but his landlord is “really cool” and tells him “Griff, just pay me half now and the rest when you can.”

How long, though, might his landlord extend such generosity to Griff, before he no longer can for his own livelihood’s sake? And, how many others will be lucky enough to have such a patient and flexible landlord? Not many. This is the exception, not the rule.

All these various factors at play, as the virus continues ripping its way across the country, with no sign of abating. Guess what this likely means?

Another mass closure of everything (the economy “shutting down” once again), which is likely to result in way more businesses going under. It’s going to mean even more jobs lost. This may (depending on the help of our government, which has been almost nill thus far) result in another mass wave of homelessness. This will mean greater anger and unrest amongst citizens (and rightly so), potentially a steep rise in crime, and even mass hysteria. Banks could crash, during which people lose their savings, retirements, and livelihood. If their money vanishes, at least for some degree of time, this means more people unable to pay rent and other bills. And so, the cycle continues.

All of this is connected. All of it has a spiraling outward effect.

We are fast approaching a point when millions of people are going to be in a situation where they determine they have nothing left to lose, and meanwhile, our government is doing little to assure us they understand the severity of the crisis at hand or the magnitude of the misery and despair that so many of us are experiencing as a result. They are doing next to nothing to help, to offer a significant safety net, or even, to help quell the virus.

On June 24th, the U.S. reported 38,672 new cases of the coronavirus, the highest daily total so far. The American coronavirus pandemic is once again spinning out of control. In terms of new confirmed cases, three of the 10 worst days of the U.S. pandemic so far have come since Friday, according to data collected by the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic. The U.S. has seen more cases in the past week than in any week since the pandemic began.

The stay-at-home order in Texas, for instance, was lifted on April 30. One day later, the state allowed nearly all of its businesses and public spaces — stores, malls, churches, restaurants, and movie theaters — to open with limited capacity. It has since further loosened those restrictions. Arizona allowed some stores and businesses to reopen in early May; it lifted its stay-at-home order on May 15 and allowed bars, gyms, churches, malls, and movie theaters to reopen around the same time. And while the state-mandated some form of capacity restrictions, those rules were regularly breached: For weeks, photos and videos have shown scenes of crowded Arizona bars and nightclubs.

When the government of Harris County, Texas — which includes Houston, the country’s fourth-largest city — mandated that residents wear masks in public or risk a $1,000 fine, the state government blocked the rule. Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick called a face-mask mandate “the ultimate government overreach,” and Representative Dan Crenshaw said it could lead to “unjust tyranny.”

People are just not getting it.

And we are going to pay, hard.

What is happening, in the minds and hearts of so many Americans, that this is not clicking? This is enraging and terrifying to the people who do get it. And, because upwards of half our country is behaving in ways that are actively undermining all of it, the fallout is going to be grave for everyone. It is going to be something from which we, as a nation, may not ever recover.

Even from a best-case scenario perspective, for the people who are not directly devastated by the virus somehow (via loss of a job, getting sick themselves, defaulting on loans, etc), this will still result in an overall much harder life for them going forward. If you even think contracting COVID might have occurred and need to get tested, get ready, you will receive anywhere from a $199 bill to potentially upwards of $6,400, no joke. Yes, this can be the cost of a COVID test in this country, and with insurance coverage. This will still take a significant chunk of one’s savings account, even if the result is not immediate financial ruin. That can mean more scraping and struggling to save for a home someday, to get back on your feet, or even to just get by.

Now consider going forward. Job competition in this country is going to be fierce. Our cities may become dangerous, via a combination of mass homelessness, an uptick in crime, and much anger as a result of our paltry leadership (if one can even call it that). It’s not just Donald Trump who is ushering in fascism and wanting to line the street with the military, though. He is certainly a huge problem, but make no mistake, even if we vote him out in November, America is not suddenly saved.

Recently, Senator Tom Cotton reminded us in The New York Times that as the nation stands on the precipice of descending even deeper into fascism, removing Donald Trump in all likelihood won’t be enough to pull us back from the edge. In his Times Op-ed, Senator Cotton writes:

“…One thing above all else will restore order to our streets: an overwhelming show of force to disperse, detain and ultimately deter lawbreakers.”

In the words of Medium writer, Lauren Martinchek, “Amazing, isn’t it, how quickly they are willing to rise to crush civil unrest, while at this very moment over 100,000 people have died alone drowning in their own fluids and 40 million people are unemployed because of our lawmakers failing to take the necessary action in the midst of a global pandemic?”

All of this, in combination with a country that is capitalist, solely concerned with profit, money, and greed rather than with empathy and the good of its citizens, along with a government that doesn’t know its head from its ass, means this: we could not possibly be in more dire straights.

We are walking a cliff edge at the moment. America has never been in a more dangerous time than it is right now. And if this country does not do something huge, and now, to drastically shift the progression of events for its citizens at large, America may implode permanently.

Fervent writer. Ravenous reader. Impassioned with words. Relationship researcher. Social Scientist. Social Justice Advocate. Author. www.brookeenglish.com

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