This is the 13th piece in my series “A Changing Country”
“No incident, however seemingly trivial, is unimportant in the scheme of things. One event leads to another, which triggers something else and before you know where you are, the ramifications spread far and wide throughout History … Every little action has huge consequences.” ~ Jodi Taylor
Throughout 2020 America has seen its fair share of issues. In looking for the causes, there’s been a lot of finger pointing. The problem with this is that everyone’s to blame and no one is held accountable. Everyone from our leaders to ordinary citizens have forgotten that when we point a finger at someone, we have three more pointing at ourselves. We forget that there are consequences for our actions.
Let’s look at the consequences of some of our and our elected leaders actions over the last few months. No, these aren’t some right or left wing conspiracy theories. They are the logical consequences of actions that have or will take place.
In an earlier piece, I said that we’ve heard our elected leaders and mainstream media hyperventilate about the spike in new cases. I also said that we are testing more people, most of which do not even know they are or have been sick. Plus most people who do get sick recover.
We saw the biggest surge of new cases occur in the month of June. The CDC has said the incubation period for COVID is between two days and 14 days. Of the many different reasons for the spikes, there is one that gets little to no attention. Thinking of what was going on at the time, the cause for that spike is obvious.
After the death of George Floyd on May 25, protests erupted across the country. While much of the country was still shut down, thousands of protesters filled the streets. Few if any of them wore masks and there was no social distancing. If just one person in that crowd had COVID and they coughed, sneezed or shouted, the droplets spread to others nearby. Those people then went home and spread it to the people they live with or other people they came in contact with in their communities.
COVID lockdown affect
We know that closing businesses large and small has had a devastating effect on both the employees and the people who own them. As I write this roughly nine months since the lockdowns began, many businesses are either still closed or will be closing again because of a spike in new cases in those communities. However, each day a business is closed during its normal operating hours, they not only lose revenue that pays for food, utilities and rent or mortgage for their family but also for;
- Rent or mortgage for that business’s space,
- Local, state and federal taxes,
- Utilities to the keep the lights on,
- Employee wages,
- Employee benefits.
Every day, week and month that business is closed, it falls further and further behind in the ability to pay for these things. Some owners have a nest egg for occasions like this, but many do not. Even those who have a little money stashed away have had a hard time hanging on for some ambiguous plan or timeline for reopening. Reopening at anything less than 50% capacity adds insult to injury. They still have to pay 100% of the bills. As a result, many businesses have permanently closed leaving their employees jobless.
But it doesn’t end there. The longer these businesses remain closed, the more likely the effects ripple throughout the community. The uncertainty of income along with the inability to pay bills and feed their families has plunged millions of Americans into poverty. This has driven many people, business owners and employees, to drug/alcohol addiction and/or commit suicide.
Law and Order
When the peaceful and violent protests over the death of George Floyd broke out this spring, one of the chants that was the loudest was to defund the police. So what would happen if law enforcement in America just, POOF, disappeared right now, today? To answer this, you don’t need to look any further than your TV, the newspaper, a magazine or your social media newsfeed. Some people only need to look out their window – if they even dare to.
We know that law enforcement protects us from criminals. When they arrest criminals and the justice system punishes them, crime goes down. Without law enforcement to arrest them and a legal system willing to punish them, criminals are emboldened to rob, rape, and murder people in those communities. As crime goes up, bullets fly and drugs flow into our communities with ease.
As I said in my previous post, many of our leaders don’t support the police in their communities. Instead they demoralize, demonize and disparage them and have told them to stand down amid the riots. Between having their hands tied, heavy scrutinization, lack of funds and staff shortages, cities across the country have seen unprecedented numbers of police officers retire early or quit altogether. Unfortunately, this also emboldens criminals along with everyday citizens to disrespect law enforcement as well as break the law.
And let’s not forget the police officers who have been attacked and killed simply protecting and serving the communities they love.
I also said in my previous post, when money is taken away from law enforcement, that’s less money to pay their salaries as well as equipment and training for them. That means fewer officers, less training and equipment. Many of the elected leaders who have defunded law enforcement have also mandated that masks be worn anytime people are in public, prohibited more than a certain number of people gathering or they’ve reinstated lockdowns. If people in these communities defy these draconian orders, the police are sent to arrest them.
Hey, wait a minute. I can be arrested for violating an unconstitutional draconian “law” but not for destroying our communities? Police officers can’t be trusted to arrest a murderer, rapist, drug dealer or thief, but they can be trusted to arrest me if I refuse to wear a mask, go to church or open my business to feed my family? Am I missing something?
The void left behind
As I said, when there are fewer police officers patrolling the streets, crime goes up. To protect their businesses and families, people will purchase guns to protect themselves, their family and their property. The downfall is that most of these people will be untrained in the proper use of a firearm. Those who don’t want to buy a gun are vulnerable to being extorted for protection, usually by criminals(Hmm, sounds a lot like paying taxes).
The economic effect of the riots
If you’ve seen or read about the violence that’s rocked cities coast to coast, I’ll bet you haven’t thought about what happens when the news crews leave, the last embers burn out and the violence passes.
In the wake of the protests, many businesses big and small that barely hung on through COVID have been completely finished off by the riots. They have been broken into and vandalized while most if not all of the merchandise has been stolen. In many cases, businesses have been burned to the ground. Those businesses were not only owned by rich white people, they were also owned by rich minorities as well as struggling whites and minorities. Those owners and their employees depend on the profits from that business to pay their bills and feed their families.
When asked the reasons for their actions, I heard a few responses. A couple of the more ignorant ones were, “They have insurance,” or “It’s a form of reparations.” Really?! Let’s look at each of these excuses.
Let’s start with the “reparations” excuse. What did that store owner do to you or your ancestors? How does destroying a store owned by a family of color make-up for the injustices that happened to your ancestors? What if that African American store owners’ ancestors were slaves? What did that immigrant have to do with your ancestors? What if that white person’s ancestors fought against slavery or helped your ancestors get to freedom? Are you sure your ancestors were even slaves?
The “They have insurance” excuse. Ok, that’s true, however, insurance only covers so much. If the owner can’t afford to start over, they won’t reopen. If it can afford to start over, chances are it reopens in another location that is safer.
Whether that business stays in that community or moves to a safer location, their insurance rates will most likely go up. To make up for the insurance increase, the loss not covered by insurance, pay the bills(ie taxes and utilities), pay their employees and at least break even, that business will be forced to raise their prices of their goods and services.
This applies to businesses big and small. And it won’t happen to just one business. Multiple businesses in a community will decide to either reopen in the same location, move to a safer location or close altogether.
When public property is destroyed(ie police cars, courthouses, etc), who pays for that? Yes, there is federal and state funding to cover the cost, but do you know where that money comes from? Every citizen who lives in that community and/or state and pays taxes; ie federal income, state income, social security, property, school, death, etc. Whether you live, work or purchase goods and services in that community and/or state, the taxes you pay will increase whether it comes out of your paycheck, when you file your annual taxes or pay the tax on the goods and services you buy.
What happens next will be a domino effect.
Whether the cause is COVID, high taxes or the riots, people who can afford it will flee big cities and states where their family is safe, they can find employment and won’t have to pay astronomical taxes. This leads to less foot traffic and fewer tourists in those communities which will compound the problem even more. If too many businesses leave and reopen somewhere else, that community will become a ghost town. Those who can’t afford to move are left behind and may turn to a life of crime just to feed their family. As the downward spiral continues, people will lose hope and turn to addiction as a way to cope or worse – they commit suicide.
If you’ve read this far, you probably feel pretty hopeless about the state of your community and the country as a whole. I assure you, there is hope. As I’ve said before, as long as the human heart beats, there’s always hope. We can fix things and get back on the right track.
To fix or prevent the worst case scenario in our communities coast to coast, there are a number of things we can do. We first need to elect the right leaders. Who are the right leaders? They are the ones who stand up for American values. They aren’t career politicians who haven’t accomplished anything positive during their career. They are not lying hypocrites. They work for you and me, not their rich donors. They believe every American is free to achieve their dream irregardless of their skin color, sexual preference, socioeconomic status, religion, political beliefs or anything else that distinguishes us from the person next to us. The right leader strives to make and then lays the groundwork to make our country better for future generations.
Thought for the day: Make your voice heard. Cast your vote.
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