Be sure to vote
Okay — this is it.
The long presidential campaign has come to an end and it will all be over by the time this newspaper is published next week.
Although a record-breaking number of Americans already have taken advantage of the availability of early-voting and voting by mail, there still are many voters who have not cast their ballots.
So here’s a reminder:
— Early voting in person is available in every city and town in Massachusetts through this Friday, October 30. Each town and city clerk will set its own hours each day for early voting, so every voter should check for their community’s early-voting schedule.
— Those who intend to vote by mail must have their ballot envelope postmarked by Election Day, November 3, AND it must be received by election officials by November 6.
— For those who wish to vote the old-fashioned way on Election Day, Tuesday, November 3, the polls in every city and town across the state will be open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM.
Our democracy only works if we make it work — and that means getting out to vote.
It’s us vs. the virus
The stunning announcement this week by Trump administration officials that they will be doing nothing to halt the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic has grave implications both for the health of every American and for the U.S. economy.
With an average of 1000 Americans dying every day and record-high levels of sickness overwhelming hospitals all across the country, no one is safe from contracting the virus.
What does this mean?
First and foremost, both first and second-level responders — police and firefighters are in the first category, hospital workers are in the second — will be at huge risk for contracting the virus. COVID-19 already is the single-biggest cause of deaths among police officers this year and with the pandemic now completely out-of-control, the situation only will get worse.
Second, essential workers, such as teachers and certain retail employees, also will be at high risk for contracting the virus.
Third, senior citizens and those with pre-existing conditions basically will be confined to their homes until they receive a proven vaccine, which is not expected to be widely available until some time next in the late spring or early summer. Family gatherings for the holidays and other occasions simply are not safe for anybody, especially older Americans.
Fourth, the travel, entertainment, and hospitality industry will be all but finished without massive aid from the federal government. Small restaurants and businesses that were able to make it through the summer will face an impossible winter season.
Fifth, unemployment will remain exceedingly high and many Americans will struggle just to feed their families and pay their rent, mortgages, and car payments without massive government assistance.
Sixth, those who need urgent care for other health reasons — such as heart attacks, cancer treatment, and accidents — will be placed at risk because ICU and emergency rooms will be filled with COVID-19 patients.
Seventh, state and local governments will be facing huge deficits and will be unable to maintain essential services such as public transportation without massive federal aid.
President Trump has been saying at his rallies in recent days that we are “rounding the corner” in the battle against the virus, a phrase he has been using since last spring.
But at this point, we have rounded so many Trumpian corners, it is clear that we are just running in circles.