The New York Times has published an op-ed that argues that while the coronavirus pandemic was a “nightmare,” it is to be celebrated because it “made the radical possible,” enabling radical policies that had once merely been “pipe dreams.”
The op-ed, by Rachel Cohen, argues that what began as emergency responses should provide a foundation for future change:
Last spring, as a poorly understood virus swept the planet, something remarkable happened: Across the country, all levels of government put in place policies that just a few months earlier would have been seen by most people — not to mention most politicians — as radical and politically naïve.
Nearly 70 percent of states ordered bans on utility shut-offs, and more than half did so for evictions. Mayors authorized car-free streets to make cities safer for pedestrians, and the federal government nearly tripled the average unemployment benefit. Within weeks, states eliminated extortionist medical co-pays for prisoners and scrapped bail. New Jersey passed a bill that released more than 2,200 incarcerated people all at once.
It is essential we get the word out on what has been accomplished as a result of this crisis and what our government still can do, and to remember what grass-roots activists understand deeply: Whether anything happens at all is largely up to us.
Cohen gave particular emphasis to criminal justice reform — ignoring the progress made by President Donald Trump, and highlighting the reforms enacted as a result of the unrest last year, which coincided with a massive nationwide crime wave.
The op-ed was published just hours after Congress passed the $1.9 trillion “COVID relief” bill — a package that was once meant to be bipartisan, but which President Joe Biden refused to negotiate with Republicans, and which White House Jen Psaki described proudly to reporters in a briefing on Wednesday as “the most progressive bill in American history.”
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). His newest e-book is How Not to Be a Sh!thole Country: Lessons from South Africa. His recent book, RED NOVEMBER, tells the story of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary from a conservative perspective. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.
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