AMERICA IS NOT OKAY.
Our system is broken and our government is painting those struggling blue and red, while leaving us without a plan for relief. We are now banding together to speak as one united front.
In the 1968 Rescue Agreement, 98 international States agreed that, no matter what, they would rescue each other from a crisis in space exploration. This was borne out of deep respect for each other and the experiment they were undertaking together. People over politics. In America, Democracy is the experiment that we have all taken on together. This pandemic created a dire state in which we must choose rescuing our people over political games. This is our Rescue Agreement. We stand together and advocate for each other.
A targeted version of this letter and the full list of demands will be submitted to the US Senate, Speaker Pelosi, and the White House negotiating team in a demand for comprehensive pandemic relief now. Millions of people in this country have been thrown out into space with no tether. It’s time to unite and reel each other in.
Our system is broken.
During a global pandemic, in which almost 200,000 of our friends and family members have died alone and millions of people in the US are suffering, relief for The People has turned into partisan politics and grandstanding.
Word on The Hill is that despite “agreeing” on many of the key issues, a relief bill still may not be passed at all. No FPUC, no PUA, no PSP, no PPP, no stimulus, no relief. Nothing for The People.
When congress left for another recess with no relief bill passed, few actually seemed surprised. They’ve burnt us out with their inaction and many Americans think there’s nothing we can do. At this point the partisanship has us yelling at our own neighbors about what they do or do not deserve. Or yelling over one another, competing for the morsels falling from billionaires' silver spoons.
Despite this, the soul of the American public is kind. In crisis after crisis, The People come out in droves to help each other. We donate blood. We volunteer. We donate money to Funds for families struggling to get by or people that were treated unfairly. We are passionate people. We quickly and vehemently support those we agree with and go to bat for strangers.
We’ve been fed a narrative that there are two sides in America - that the other side is consuming fake news and is so far gone we can’t comprehend listening to them. We’re told hate and disbelief are the answers instead of conversation.
Our leaders have chosen to fan the factional flames by choosing inaction and grandstanding instead of conversation. This serves them, not us. It lines their pockets with what we have lost. When we wash off the red and blue paint and come out from behind the screens we’ve gotten comfortable raging behind, American workers aren’t that different at all.
We each deserve relief in this public health and economic crisis. Workers in America aren’t going to survive the polarized system much longer. We have to come together.
The Rescue Agreement of 1968 was an agreement between 98 international states at the dawn of Space Exploration. It said that no matter the circumstances, “States shall take all possible steps to rescue and assist astronauts in distress and promptly return them to the Launching State...” It was an agreement made out of respect for the great experiment that they were entering together. No matter what was happening between their States’ governments, their space teams would always help each other in dire times within their own joint experiment.
Democracy is an experiment that we have all taken on together. This pandemic is our dire state. This is our Rescue Agreement.
The stock market represents billionaires and corporations, not the small businesses and workers that are the backbone of this economy. Entire industries have shuttered. Face to face industries, like live entertainment and events, travel, hospitality, and food and beverage will struggle to come back. Millions are unemployed for the first times in long careers. Others that have returned to jobs are at limited capacity, and so, limited hours and pay for their workers. We have recovered less than half of the jobs we lost at the height of the pandemic; by the most optimistic metrics, we are still short at least 11.5 million jobs. Federal relief has been prematurely ended for 26 million people and not even made available for millions more who are excluded completely. Up to 40 million people are at risk of eviction. 12 million are without health insurance. 5.4 million are hungry and up to 54 million are projected to be if no further relief is passed. The lines at food banks are unprecedented. 50% of the unemployed cannot afford basic necessities. Essential workers have worked without hazard pay for months, providing the rest of us the ability to eat and survive in our homes. At times, they, along with frontline hospital workers, have had to provide their own PPE. Over half of our small businesses fear they have closed their doors permanently.
After all that, during a global pandemic that is causing an incredible amount of fear, insecurity, instability, and depression, Americans still may not rest. We have to call our Senators, we have to create new coalitions, we have to beg for press coverage, we have to think of new ways to be heard and make our government care. We have to scramble and beg the leaders we elected for empathy from a government that we fund.
Convincing us that we’re helpless in all this is one of the key ways dictators take power. Together, the workers of this nation outnumber them, and our voices are powerful. Nothing gets done without us making it happen. We cannot stand idly by, being told there isn’t enough for all of us working people, while our tax dollars are shoveled into corporations and stuffed billionaires.
This country has never gotten through by thinking small, and we’re not about to start now. This country cannot be bought and it cannot be bullied; it was built by the workers and it belongs to us. We the people demand comprehensive pandemic relief that supports workers and small businesses through this pandemic. No more extra for the rich. No more skinny bills that don’t help us all. Our needs are many, but there is nothing superfluous or padded about them.
Our country has overcome major crises in the past because we worked together. Democrats and Republicans in Congress must set aside their partisan differences and hear the cries of millions of Americans untethered by a historic global pandemic. History--and voters--will judge those who turned away from supporting The People in this time of crisis.
No more politics. We need comprehensive pandemic relief for The People. We need it now.
We demand it together.
WHY SIGN? HOW WILL THIS BE USED?
Once we have amassed a coalition of voices agreeing to advocate for each other and allied behind this full list of demands, we will submit it to Congress as a unified ask.
Together, we will demand a comprehensive People First bill to ensure we all survive this pandemic.