By Senator Lena C. Taylor
Republicans Seem to Confuse Real Message of Christmas
We are experiencing an unending comedy of errors, when it comes to a national and state response to COVID-19. However, there is nothing amusing or funny about the more than 274,000 people that have died because of the coronavirus. In the United States, over roughly eight months, we have had the equivalent deaths of ninety-one 9/11 occurrences. In 2001, we lost about 3,000 lives in the worst terrorist attack on American soil. Multiply that incident by 91 and that’s where we stand today. We are on the verge of averaging a 9/11 number of deaths every day in this country. This is crazy! The outrage in the loss of life is rivaled only by the mishandling, indifference and outright denial of the severity of the crisis by too many republican elected officials.
This week, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) warned that the COVID-19 pandemic will become even deadlier before vaccines are widely available. While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is meeting next week to decide on recommending the emergency-use authorization of the Pfizer vaccine, it is also cautioning that the ultimate rollout timeline could take weeks. Even then, the vaccines will be prioritized and won’t likely reach the masses until mid-2021. Therefore, as individuals and elected officials we are still called upon to act responsibly.
So far, we have seen mixed messages from those in leadership. Donald Trump, in his last few acts as president, plans to hold a Christmas Party in the White House. U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is planning to invite hundreds of people to holiday parties at the State Department headquarters. In the meantime, we have now hit 14 million COVID-19 positive cases. In Wisconsin, Gov. Tony Evers has closed the State Capitol to the public because of the pandemic. The holiday tree that normally would have been displayed will not go up. The ornaments, typically made by the state’s school children, are being sent to decorate trees at veteran’s facilities and Taylorhomes. But some members of the Wisconsin GOP thought that putting up a tree in the Capitol was a priority. Did I mention that the Capitol is closed to the public? Was this act intended to be a demonstration of the importance of Christmas?
I am a woman of faith and was raised in the church. There are a number of scriptures that have always resonated with me, particularly during the holidays. James 2:14-17 asks “What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” We don’t need a Capitol Christmas tree or “super-spreader” federal holiday parties. We need elected officials that are going to do what’s needed to ensure our residents can eat, work, access medical care, worship safely and keep a roof over their heads. That sounds more like the spirit of Christmas to me.