“YAMHILL, Ore. — As more vaccinated Americans emerge, blinking, to survey our post-apocalyptic world, it’s becoming increasingly clear that many of our fellow citizens may never fully recover — even if they didn’t actually contract the coronavirus.
That’s because quite apart from the direct effects of the virus, the pandemic has aggravated mental illness, domestic violence, addiction and childhood trauma in ways that may reverberate for decades.
My friends who started out prosperous have ridden out the storm in vacation homes and seen their investments soar. Here in rural Oregon where I grew up, my friends who were already down and out are mostly struggling, homeless or even dead, and there is similar anguish across a broad swath of the United States.
That’s why President Biden’s proposals to invest in families and working-class Americans are so important. Just as we acted forcefully to address the virus, we should also move decisively to address America’s persistent pandemic of despair, addiction and educational failure.
Two of my friends overdosed on heroin during the pandemic, and the girlfriend of one is now self-medicating with meth and is wanted by the law. One of my homeless friends died; another, newly homeless, begs me for money; his mother pleads for me to refuse for fear he will use it to buy drugs and again overdose. . . .”
This is a pretty good arugment for Biden’s humongous, 6 trillion dollar spending and investiment plan.