In a matter of weeks, the coronavirus outbreak has fundamentally changed American life. Businesses and schools have closed indefinitely, and hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs. As the economy continues to crash, everyday life feels more precarious than it ever has before. To help, government officials across the country are proposing a slew of benefits, such as a moratorium on evictions and mortgage payments, student loan deferments, releasing prisoners from crowded jails, moving unhoused citizens into hotels and unused apartment buildings, and sending a check to every American citizen for as long as this pandemic lasts.
These unprecedented actions have bipartisan support, as both sides of the aisle understand them to be necessary to address this national emergency. And while I know how scared Americans are feeling, I want to make one thing clear: we will weather this storm. Once the quarantine is lifted and a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, it will once again be business as usual. All the benefits you’ve come to rely on will go away, we will cut the social safety net we hastily assembled, and life will return to normal. As terrifying as things are now, we will persevere and return to the normal terror we’re used to.
We are not underestimating the devastating effects of COVID-19. We are taking this virus seriously, and help is on the way. We are in the process of implementing many left-wing policies — universal income, debt relief, free healthcare, reducing the prison population — that were unfathomable just a month ago. But I want to stress to all Americans that these policies are only temporary. While we might make coronavirus testing, and possibly even treatment, free of charge, rest assured, once this blows over, you will continue to go into debt for any other health issue. Nothing can stop the American way of life, not even a pandemic. We will not let this virus prevent our insurance companies from gouging us for basic services the way our Founding Fathers intended. We will not let COVID-19 change who we are — cruel, capitalist, and dog eat dog.
Look, Americans are some of the toughest people in the world. We’ve been through a hell of a lot as a country – slavery, civil and world wars, recession after recession after recession, and we courageously ignored the lessons of all of them. I’m confident we can get through this epidemic without losing sight of the systemic problems that got us into this mess in the first place.
It’s that sense of normalcy that’s so important in American life. The feeling of working so much you never see your children, the familiar comfort of surviving paycheck to paycheck — that’s what we’re working so hard to get back to. Grocery store employees, who in these trying times are realizing they are essential workers who deserve to be paid an investment banker’s salary, need to feel like they’re unskilled and worthless again. White-collar workers working from home need to know that the nightmare of doing their work at their own pace will not last forever. They need to know that they’ll be taking their regular hour-long commute to their poorly-lit office with bad coffee and a boss that micromanages their every move. It’s up to our leaders to reassure them that instead of finishing their daily tasks in half the time and going on a relaxing stroll around the block, they can go back to pretending to look busy and killing the hours of noon to six, and that the only sunlight they’ll get to see is in between a tacky set of blinds. We need to promise Americans that the burden of the paid sick leave we granted them will be lifted, and they will again get to experience the usual American dilemma of going into to work with an infectious disease.
Some of you might be wondering, why can’t we take this opportunity to address our country’s issues, create a strong welfare state, and change society for the better? I hear your concerns, but it’s a slippery slope. Once we start being decent, there’s no going back. If Americans aren’t one missed payment away from losing their home, people are going to be kind to one another on a scale we’ve never seen before. Neighbors will help neighbors. Young people will look after older people. Quality of life could skyrocket to levels we haven’t seen since before the invention of capitalism. It’s complete and utter altruism, and it will tear us apart. The sooner we go back to fucking each other over, the better.
That’s why we have to act fast — before Americans realize the scope of how terrible this all is. And while a Joe Biden presidency might be enough to stop the healing, I fear that in his feeble state, there’s the odd chance he might accidentally do something good. That’s why I’m proud to co-sponsor the Rush Americans Back To Work initiative. Once you’re back in your horrible, everyday routine, you’ll see that the devil you know is so much better than the angel you’ll never meet.