When an incumbent runs for office, all citizens should consider where their country stands in their eyes at that moment compared to the same time during the former election. In our current election cycle, civil unrest continues to rise. Our nation’s media works to obscure much of that with additional help by the COVID-19 pandemic. Added to all else that happens during our daily lives, it is easy to forget how much has changed.
Let’s compare our current reality to that of October 2015 when the Obama presidency wound down. We helped to broker the Iranian nuclear weapons program, The Iran Nuclear Deal. This was a multilateral pact between the US, Iran, and our allies, which provided compliance for a profuse number of site visits to verify cooperation. When Trump took office, liberals and moderates feared his chaotic administration would blunder into a war. And they weren’t far from the mark.
Obsessed with erasing Barack Obama’s legacy, he reneged on the deal. Not only did the US withdraw from the treaty, but we have also exchanged fire with Iran with casualties on both sides. By any standard, that makes the world and America significantly less safe than at the end of 2015.
What about the economy? Unemployment today stands at 7.9 percent. In October 2015, after many months of sustained recovery, we were at 5 percent. When we multiply that difference by a US workforce of 165 million, that’s an additional FIVE MILLION Americans unemployed today—a number equal to the entire population of South Carolina. That the stock market remains strong during this time should be an alarm call, not a bright spot. The wealthiest Americans own the largest part of those stocks. That wealth insulates them, and it provides them new opportunities to bolster their profit. The rest of us, without pools of cash to invest, continue to suffer.
In 2015, Americans overall had free reign over global travel and could go anywhere, except for a few unstable states that the State Department warned travelers to avoid. Today, we are unwelcome in Europe or Canada.
In 2015, the United States had the undisputed foremost position in the world. Today, many world leaders distance themselves from American delegations at global forums. Some of our staunchest allies now consider the leaders or Russia and China, our top global rivals, to be more trustworthy and powerful.
Finally, there is the COVID-19 pandemic. As of this post, the US Corona death toll stands at 223,000. Only more impoverished nations such as Brazil and India even come close to that number. As of yesterday, the United States had 75,000 new Coronavirus cases, a shocking 19% of the world total. We also have 20% of the world’s Corona deaths, despite only having 5% of the global population. Apologists for this administration can’t hide from those numbers. Other nations, small and large, rich and poor, have uniformly mounted a more effective response. Even nations with repressive governments, China as an example, which initially treated the virus as a public relations problem, quickly retreated to more pragmatic tactics when the death toll mounted. But not us.
As a result, today’s average American is poorer and faces greater danger from both war and the pandemic than in October of 2015. Let’s hope we can reconvene here in four years and talk about how much better things are going. As it has always been, it’s up to us—every American citizen—to turn this around. And we can begin that change by voting Mr. Biden in as our new president.