Every Election Day, there are scenes of long lines outside polling stations, of people patiently waiting in line for hours to vote. Those videos mostly feature African American faces, because access to polling places is limited in urban areas where minority and poor people often live. This is why the ban on bottles of water seems so crucial, and targeted.
The law also allows state authorities to intervene in county election offices and remove local officials, prompting fears that Republican state officials could overrule authorities in heavily Democratic counties — exactly what Trump tried to force them to do after Joe Biden’s win in November. Voters will also now face less time and more restrictions to cast mail-in ballots. While the bill expands early voting across the state, it curbs some access granted during the pandemic in populous counties where minorities live.
‘Is this patriot enough?’
‘All of the rest of them, in my mind, could have been mitigated or decreased substantially.’
One of the top doctors behind the Trump administration’s botched pandemic response has come to a haunting conclusion: Hundreds of thousands of Americans could have been saved.
Certainly Trump, who aggressively pushed for the country to remain open in defiance of scientific advice, deserves blame. As do several Republican governors who caused another wave by reopening in the summer. But Birx’s remarks also raise deeper questions: Is the United States, with its natural distrust of centralized authority, reverence for individual freedom, and deep political divides simply constructed in a way that makes fighting a pandemic more difficult? And what is the right balance between saving lives by following the advice of medical professionals and sustaining livelihoods by protecting the country’s economic health?
President Joe Biden has pleaded with Americans to stay strong for a few more months until most people are vaccinated. But many state governors are already dropping restrictions at shops, restaurants, bars and for businesses — a suggestion that more than half a million deaths, with more to come, is simply the price they’re willing to pay.