The Cost of Covid-19 to a Family and the Need for the For the People Act

6 mins read

Sometimes, after a Zoom meeting like I had today, I feel ill at the thought of how much more difficult life would be if Trump had won in 2020. 

It was my developmentally disabled cousin A’s 65th birthday today, and the family got on a Zoom call to wish him a happy day. The call was ruined by his brother D, who is also disabled, and who spent the time yelling about how his cousins are keeping him from moving away and having money in his wallet.

Heartbreakingly, A still writes “welcome home” letters to his mother, who died of COVID-19 almost a year ago. D is perpetually angry. His mother’s leased car was not in his name, and the company wanted it back. He has not forgiven us for taking “his” car away. Although they live in an area with lots of public transportation, he refuses to take advantage of the various options available to him.

You may be wondering what this has to do with the For The People Act (FTPA). Well, because of the American Rescue Plan, A, who is still employed by the same VA hospital where he has worked since he was 18, received a $1,400 check last week. I can’t overemphasize how much these funds are needed, especially since their mother’s will has still not been probated. The New York courts have mostly remained closed because of the pandemic, and the outrageous number of deaths caused by COVID-19 has meant an overflow of estates requiring probate and appointment of executors.

The American Rescue Plan will also ensure that there is enough vaccine for them and guarantee enough vaccinators who will make sure they can safely get their shots. If not for this coronavirus relief bill, my cousins might face eviction from their home, or even greater financial problems because when their mother died almost half of their family income, which included her salary and Social Security, disappeared. Now they have some money to help tide them over until their mother’s estate is settled.

If we had not had a fair and free election last November, or during the Georgia Senate runoffs, the American Rescue Plan would not now be law, and Americans would still be desperately waiting for relief. This is why the For the People Act matters. Instead of creating their own programs to help their constituents and win electoral support, Republicans have decided to hold onto their power by making it harder for Americans to vote. I know it sounds almost unbelievable that elected officials in our country could be so uncaring and power hungry, but that is the reality. More than 250 bills in 43 states have been introduced to make it harder for Americans to vote. Why would they do this? Because the huge voter turnout of 2020 gave the White House, House and Senate to the Democrats, so the best chance that Republicans have to win in 2022 and 2024 is to make sure fewer people can vote. Ironically, “some of the laws currently under consideration in Arizona and nationwide look like blunt instruments that could end up making it harder for Republicans to vote too.”

The FTPA addresses these immoral and unpatriotic schemes on a national level. It will mandate the number of days for early voting, make Election Day a holiday, and guarantee a fair vote-by-mail system. This article by Rena Korb clearly explains the key provisions of the bill.

Many legislators have pointed out that elections are the responsibility of each state. Unfortunately, we have seen state governments become increasingly partisan, and it has become apparent that the only way to have fair national elections is to set some national rules that will protect the rights of voters in every state. The For the People Act does that. Without it, our elections may become so corrupt that bills intended to help people like my cousins, instead of the wealthy, will never pass. Survivors like A and D who are mourning their lost loved ones might never have a chance to get their lives back to some sort of normalcy

My aunt died while the previous administration was lying about the danger of the pandemic and discounted the use of masks. We need to make sure that the majority of Americans can continue to elect the responsible, honest government we desire. If we had not elected Joe Biden, who knows how many more people would be mourning their loved ones now?

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