Sometimes my day starts with a Beethoven Overture, because Why Not? The energy fits the mood. Whatever sacred moments and surprises that day holds should be heralded with beauty and vigor. And this seems a particularly serendipitous season, with vaccination abounding and virus declining. As one wag phrased it, “we’ve gone off leash!” The freedom, joyous reunions and socializing of this year contrast starkly with last, when we were frightened, unsure and home-bound.
On the national front, we can rejoice that Biden’s proposed American Jobs and Family Plans could help many who desperately need it. Private agencies haven’t been able to meet massive demand; the government must intervene on a large scale. Of course, the bill will look different after Congress makes adjustments, but hope springs; we could look forward to humane improvements.
Especially heartening is the president’s effort to cut child poverty in half, the only flaw an expiration date of 2025, which Congress can fix by making it permanent. As Nicholas Kristof reports in the New York Times (3/24/21), American children ages 1 to 19 are 57 percent more likely to die than children in other rich countries. How can we let such a scandal continue, when we know how to correct it?
Other parts of the proposal would offer community college free to everyone, invest in early childhood education, rebuild the infrastructure and convert to alternate energy sources. Yes, it’s ambitious, but many commentators are comparing Biden’s efforts to Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal.
I learned more about Roosevelt from a documentary, “FDR” shown on Kanopy (free through our local library) by David Grubin, narrated by David McCullough, excerpts available at https://youtu.be/RSzGRC-NNgg. When the country was dispirited by the depression and millions were out of work, President Herbert Hoover didn’t have a clue what to do.
Taking office after him, Roosevelt was up for trying anything—and if it didn’t succeed, try something else. He got people back to work and fired up the economy in the way we need again, post-pandemic. His scope was large, his vision broad—and when he died at only 63, citizens of all ethnicities and income levels lined the train route of his funeral cortege to honor his passing. People don’t need official sanction to recognize blessings in their midst.
We have a similar chance now to invest in the people of the US. It’s incomprehensible why people of faith could even consider turning aside.
Appropriate sarcasm: a Texas judge ruled that the NRA could not evade a law suit by filing for bankruptcy (their leader Wayne LaPierre hid on a yacht after the Sandy Hook and Parkland shootings, a luxury not afforded the parents of victims). The response on Twitter couldn’t have been more fitting: to send the NRA “thoughts and prayers” as meaningless as those offered after killings.