Having lots of time to sit and muse, I found myself, for no real apparent reason, thinking about Ronald Reagan. I am not reading a book about him, nor am I watching any video of him. Why I thought of Reagan at this time really baffles me. Cabin fever and a wandering mind, I guess?
One of my favorite campaign slogans of Reagan was: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?” Wow. I remember my thoughts and my situation. I was not. Not by a long shot. Fast forward to the year 2020. Once again, I ask myself that same question, and the answer is the same as it was way back in 1980. I am certainly not better off than I was four years ago. Nor is this great land we are blessed to live in.
My wife was working four years ago. And earning and bringing money home. Now? Nope. My portfolio hadn’t shrunk by over 50 percent. My health insurance costs were a whole lot lower. We were, collectively as a nation, at least acknowledging climate change and its deleterious effects on our wonderful God-given earth.
Student loan debt was at least being talked about and possible solutions were being bandied about. Healthcare costs were being discussed and possible solutions were once again being discussed. The Affordable Care Act, as flawed as it is/was, was at least an acknowledgment of a serious problem. Now? Nope.
Gun violence was at least being discussed. Now? You know the answer as well as I do. Heck, gun stores are even open during the COVID-19 crisis. I have a whole lot of trouble wrapping my bald head around the rationale/justification for that. Thoughts and prayers just don’t cut it anymore, good folks.
Many of our children/families are now so poor they wouldn’t eat if it weren’t for food banks and schools. Real estate prices and rents are sky high. Yet we do nothing. Tent cities in major cities. Our own library in our fair city is a haven for homeless citizens. And it is now shut.
Ask yourself Reagan’s prophetic question, and answer it truthfully. Some are better off, and I congratulate them. My guess, however, and I am pretty sure it is an accurate summation, is that most of us would have to answer that our lives, and the lives of our kids, spouses, in laws, etc., are not better than they were four years ago.
There is a way to change this. Vote. Remember the old saying: “Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different outcomes is insanity.” Are we insane? Please give your vote extra careful thought this time. Most of us have the time.
— Jeff Raywood is a resident of Holland.