This is the choice we have to make | Three Things Thursday

Brett Maney
Senior Communications Manager
Unite America

Look at that, it’s already May.

For some of us, May will bring opening steps to re-establish our regular patterns. For others, it will bring more shelter in place, and a continuation of the “safer at home” practices. 

As the adage goes, April showers bring May flowers, so here’s hope for brighter times ahead. 

Here are three things to read this week: 

  1. A dysfunctional government is going to govern dysfunctionally

As millions of Americans and their businesses continue to suffer amidst the nationwide lockdown, the Paycheck Protection Program -- a government loan program designed to give small loans to businesses during the pandemic -- has run dry, even when thousands of businesses have yet to apply. At the same time, it’s emerging that large, stockholder-owned corporations were among those who received loans.

As former Senate candidate Dave Dodson points out, the problem with the PPP program isn’t one party or one leader. It’s too simplistic to say that Washington leadership is corrupt. Instead, what we see now is a system that’s working exactly as it was designed to. If we want to change the outcomes we see from our political system, we have to change the incentives that govern it. (... that sounds familiar)

As Dodson argues, “Had the small businessperson a voice in allocating $2 trillion in taxpayer money, organizations which employ 59 percent of the workforce might have gotten more than 17 percent of the funds."

  1. Vote at home IS critical infrastructure

Because we will never stop beating the drum on vote at home, here’s an article from two fellows at the Hoover Institution, who argue that states must prepare for vote at home elections ahead of November. (Sounds familiar!) As cities and states begin to re-open, citizens and elected officials alike are going to be lulled into a sense of normalcy and false confidence that the worst of coronavirus is behind us. Yet most projections show that without proper social distancing, this won’t be true.

“If there’s one thing this pandemic has taught us by now, it’s that preparation is everything,” argue co-authors Valentin Bolotnyy and Larry Diamond. “The stakes are too high and the prospect of a second wave of COVID-19 infections this fall is too great to bet our democracy on a lucky break. Vote-by-mail must now be considered part of our democracy’s critical infrastructure — and we must give states the financial and technical assistance to ensure that it can function as such.

  1. Coronavirus presents two paths: unity or division

The human experience is a lot like the mythical phoenix: out of the ashes of a terrible fire, a new life can emerge, and with it, new opportunities. A new longread from authors Ashley Quarcoo and Rachel Kleinfeld argue that the great unsettling caused by coronavirus may actually be the catalyst to a more unified and less polarized world. 

Let me be clear: coronavirus is a terrible disease that is causing physical, emotional, and economic hardship for millions of people around the world. Yet, as the authors point out, again and again, humans have shown to become more resilient and more cohesive following great tragedy. Already, we’re seeing signs. A poll from YouGov and More in Common found that 90 percent of Americans feel “we are all in this together,” an enormous increase from the year before. 

Yet this unity isn’t certain: historically, tragedy has also led to increases in xenophobia and racism. Already, we’re seeing signs of this as well. If we want America to come out of this crisis stronger, and ensure that the last two months in quarantine haven’t been for naught, we must choose the path of unity, and not lose the feeling of togetherness that we have. For the future of our country, we must trust one another.

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