As everyone is well aware, Christmas was very different this year. If it was not different for you, you are one of three things: someone who doesn’t celebrate, you are extremely lonely or you are someone who doesn’t take a global pandemic that has killed almost two million people seriously.
If you are one of the first two, more power to you. There’s no shame in not celebrating and/or being lonely. But if you’re one of the latter, well, then, to quote Joe Biden: “come on, man.”
I’ve seen people on Facebook and social media complaining about how “the liberal governors are making us wear masks on Christmas” but that’s just not the case. Had we had a true lockdown, and listened to the experts back in March, we would not be struggling to contain this.
Other countries that took it seriously are enjoying a pleasant and rambunctious Christmas. Australia, for example, has been consistently reporting zero new COVID deaths. In New Zealand, throughout the entirety of this ordeal, there have only been 25 deaths. In Wuhan, the original epicenter of the virus, they’re having pool parties and zero new COVID cases.
But right wing rhetoric, specifically the Trump administration and right wing media, fueled this virus. Senator Marco Rubio publicly called for cuts to unemployment and COVID-19 relief back in April, claiming that people didn’t want to go back to work because they were making more off of unemployment. Even though it is true that some people made more off of unemployment benefits than they did when they were working, that completely disregards the fact that they would have to put their lives at risk in order to work. Furthermore, people making more through unemployment than they would if they were to put their lives at risk to work during a pandemic is more of an indictment on American capitalism than it is on American workers.
Then, Marco Rubio, a perfectly healthy 49 year old, got the vaccine. Then, the same week that he got the vaccine, he went on Twitter and attacked Dr. Fauci and the “elites” for distorting facts about the virus, which is ironic because he was, quite literally, making a tweet distorting facts about the virus.
And Rubio is considered one of the moderate Republicans when it comes to COVID-19. Many Republican governors, for example South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem, refused to mandate masks in their states. South Dakota has reported over 1,000 deaths from the virus in the past six months.
But there was another issue this Christmas: packages have been delayed by the United States Postal Service. I’ve seen people on Facebook calling USPS workers lazy, but that belief is just ignorant. The USPS is not understaffed because people are lazy, it is understaffed because the Republican party has spent the past several years attacking the postal service and fighting to privatise it.
In the past year, President Trump and the GOP repeatedly attacked the post office. The New York Times reported in August that the Trump administration was actively undercutting the postal service from within and that some cabinet members want to privatise it to sell to Amazon.
The Republican war against the postal service is not a new thing. During the Obama era, in an effort to reduce government spending, the GOP blocked the Obama administration’s plans to expand the post office. President Obama wanted this expansion because five years prior, the post office had handled the largest volume of mail in their history.
The GOP blocked this, claiming that they didn’t want to waste taxes on government institutions, even though the post office expansions would be funded in full by stamps and not taxpayer money. They called the decision unconstitutional, despite the fact that the power to create post offices is enumerated in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. They called the plan Marxist. But Marxism is an economic system in which the working class controls the means of production and has almost nothing to do with mail.
The GOP didn’t block this expansion because they thought it was a bad idea. They blocked it because they wanted, and still want, to privatise the post office and continue to line their pockets.
You may still be thinking, “well, it’s not the constant attacks and cuts to the post office the GOP has pushed for the past several decades that delayed the mail, it’s the pandemic.” And to that I say, then it’s still their fault.
They refused to shut down the country in full and take the necessary precautions to stop the spread of COVID-19 back in March. The Democratic Party is not perfect, they are actually very, very far from perfect. But they don’t deserve the blame for COVID-19, and they certainly don’t deserve the blame for your Christmas presents being late.