Prof. Rajesh Sampath (Heller)

My first reaction was that the package should have been passed long before President Biden's inauguration and first days in office, but that was impossible during the Trump-Republican embargo on basic relief and equality. From a progressive view, I only wish there was more allocated in terms of stimulus payments, child tax credit and weekly unemployment insurance.  How can families survive past a month given the uncertainty of the impact of the vaccines, the possibility of other surges and variants of the COVID-19 virus and the prolonged need to social distance and quarantine, thereby stalling a return to normalcy, let alone the possibility of economic growth? As Senator Bernie Sanders (D-VT) has said, “universal healthcare must be a basic right.” Lastly, I am not surprised by the delayed bipartisanship regardless of which political party you identify with. What this whole fiasco of politicizing a global pandemic reveals is telling: over 500,000 Americans were killed because capital, power and privilege were prioritized over any basic equality and respect for all human life. Alas, we cannot achieve this equality in our current state: the hierarchy, stratification and inequality of American society cutting across race, gender, sexuality, dis/ability, immigrant status and class lines appear to be ineradicable.  

Rajesh Sampath is an associate professor of Philosophy of Justice, Rights, and Social Change.