Almost every one of my friends is complaining about the need to get this country moving ahead. But at the same time, they say that they are fearful of getting the Covid-19 virus with its deadly consequences. The politicians starting with the president are telling us it’s time to open the country, but in their heart of hearts, they have a fear of becoming a virile victim.
Once upon a time by the middle of June, we were itching to get to a baseball game to see the Mets or the Yankees do their thing. But as each day goes by the likelihood of any serious baseball is dwindling. The owners don’t want to pay players a full season salary for only 70 games without fans while the players want to get their full salary to play an abbreviated season. And we the people, who help pay their salaries, probably won’t get to see more than 50 games if it’s up to the commissioner.
As if things couldn’t get worse for hockey fans, the owner of the Nassau Coliseum has decided that he is shutting down the building because there is too much debt and no prospects for the place to make money. That means that the Islanders will be playing all of their games at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn. With the possibility of another upsurge in cases, there is a strong chance that those games will be played before an empty house.
Gov. Cuomo tells us that we are doing well and that the state is well on the way to a blazing recovery. He is partially correct in that our stores and restaurants are partially open, but come October, a new spike in cases could send us back to our living rooms for many more months of hibernation. Despite daily press releases by pharmaceutical companies praising their latest testing for a vaccine, at this point we are still a year away from getting a real product that will save lives. You can’t inoculate 350 million Americans overnight, so don’t get your hopes up so soon that we will be back to normal.
President Trump and his faithful servant Mike Pence are telling our fellow citizens that we are on the rebound and it’s safe to go about our old routines. In the meantime, both of these brave men are tested daily to make sure they haven’t shown any signs of getting the virus. If you watch carefully, every time a group of staff or reporters leave Air Force One, they are wearing masks with the exception of Mr. Trump and Mr. Pence.
I hear some occasional complaints about the continuing street protests from people who just don’t understand what is going on in America. There are a lot of good people out there who were born into poverty and don’t have a chance to live the American dream. They are forced to attend terrible schools that are understaffed and lacking the basic tools to succeed. They are deprived of nutritious meals and live in neighborhoods that are unsafe, day or night. A few of these minorities are lucky enough to break away and live the dream, but they are a small number.
Everyone knows what the trigger was for the mass number of street protests around the country and around the world. The killing of an innocent black man started the uprisings and almost each and every day there is a new story about the killing of another man or woman, whose only fault was being a person of color. Someday the protests will stop but the killings of innocents have to stop first.
If you think you have gone through a lot of inconveniences up to now, wait until mid-summer when local governments, faced with massive revenue losses, start cutting back on essential services. School districts will have to start laying off teachers and other municipalities will have to cut things like frequent trash collection and important people programs.
Down in Washington, Republican Majority Leader Mitch Mc Connell, who never met a Northeasterner he didn’t dislike, has no intention of helping people like us who have a New York State zip code. Some of his members also want federal dollars to help with the loss of tax revenues and the cost of emergency services. It is possible that a few dollars will flow north, but they might be in the form of low interest loans. Mitch, thanks but no thanks.
The biggest of the headaches we face is the fact that by mid-July, those small businesses that were able to get some federal aid will be running out of money, with no hope of any additional dollars. Your local restaurant can’t survive on 25 percent or 50 percent occupancy, and the U.S. Senate isn’t rushing to create a new bailout program. Maybe something will pass by Aug. 1, but don’t hold your breath waiting for a bunch of new stimulus dollars.
It is a cold and hard fact that the months ahead are not promising as a new period of recovery. It will take time and resolve to get us through the days to come, but we Americans have seen this movie before. Eventually, things will get better because they always do.