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Coronavirus lays bare the abandonment by those who govern

Salvador Sandoval M.D.  |  Issue: November | December 2020

In this election year, fear, uncertainty, and a glimmer of hope dominate our daily lives. Amid the twin pandemics of the deadly coronavirus and state- sponsored violence including police murders, deportations, and family separations, we continue to be mired in the most unusual presidential election period of our lifetimes.

Our country is deeply divided. Each side was forced to vote for a candidate they didn’t particularly care for. However, they feared more what a triumphant candidate from the other party would do.

One side wanted “to make America great again.” That is a vision of a country that once provided opportunities for many, generally based on privilege or color, yet was never “great” for everyone, particularly the poor, people of color, and immigrants.  Moreover, it is an America that can never be realized again: the America of a good paying job with benefits and a secure future. Robotics and automation are fast replacing that dream.

The other side wants the America of the statue of liberty and civil rights. It wants the America of equal opportunity and public services, including a robust response to the coronavirus pandemic. While they continue to defend against a police state and trampled civil and human rights, so far there is only a bail out for billionaires and Wall Street, not Main Street.

We cannot go back in time. We can only go forward. Will we do so with Langston Hughes cry of “Let America be the dream the dreamers dreamed… the land that never has been yet—And yet must be—the land where every man is free?” Or will we wander onto the path of a present or future despot who sows hate and division?

It is time that Americans, whether we voted red or blue in this election, look for what we have in common as human beings.   The new technology provides the means for the first time in history to satisfy our basic needs and more, but only if we unite for this purpose.

As we struggle to shake off the nightmare that will not go away, of President Trump refusing to concede power, we must continue to be involved. We cannot afford to let our guard down, even with a different face in the White House. True democracy means government of the people, for the people, and by the people. We will not allow them to take that away from us.

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