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Senator Ron Johnson, Before Complaining About Others, Might First Do His Job

March 17, 2020

Our grandmothers, regardless of age or region of the country we call home, would all have the same sage advice to the story below.  First, clean up your own back yard.

We are aware that Wisconsin Republican Senator Ron Johnson has publically stated some objections to the coronavirus relief bill that is slowing winding its way through the congressional process. This weekend, after the House passed the legislation that would expand sick paid leave for workers, Johnson stated  such a measure would only create additional hardships for small businesses by “forcing them to pay wages they cannot afford.”

Not knowing when to stop placing the entire shoe into his mouth Johnson then added that he is concerned that the bill would be incentivizing people to not show up for work.”

Empathy, which I have long thought to be a larger part of the midwestern makeup, more so than other regions of the nation, does not seem to be a characteristic Johnson shares with the rest of us.  Instead of grasping the fear of the nation, the unease with a virus that is upending every facet of life, and threatening the economic foundations of homes everywhere, Johnson instead sought a way to find fault with his fellow citizens.

I strongly suspect the average worker in the nation is very concerned about how a job will be impacted by the virus and whether a paycheck will be ready at the end of a pay period.  The man or woman with family responsibilities is correctly concerned about what will happen should they become infected and the ability to pay the bills becomes as much a threat as the virus.  To then read that Johnson sees sinister motives in legislation which is aimed to help all those who did not marry into wealth is, without doubt, the most irksome news story I have read thus far this week.

Before Johnson should consider his constituents free-loaders, and somehow not fulfilling their role as workers, he might wish to consider his own lackluster work performance concerning the coronavirus pandemic.  Former Senator Claire McCaskill made a strong point last week on Morning Joe about what Johnson might have done if we were more engaged with his senatorial duties. 

“He is chairman of the Homeland Security Committee! Right? He has jurisdiction over coronavirus and the federal response. Is he calling a hearing? Is he trying to figure out why first responders’ tests aged on a shelf in the state of Washington until they were no longer good? Is he going to tell people why they can’t get the test? No,” she continued.

“This joke, Ron Johnson, is actually politicizing a committee that right now should have one focus: What is going on with the United States of America’s federal response to the coronavirus? People should be really angry about this,” McCaskill added.

We all have lived through many events in our lives.  From the loss of space shuttles, presidential elections resolved by the Supreme Court, and terrorism I thought we might have seen just about every ‘out of the box’ scenario imaginable. Then came the last week of news and events about this pandemic and it underscored we have no idea what is next.

That is why in these stressful times, and highly uncertain moments, we need to know that our leaders are one with us, sharing our dread and aware of our common needs.  When times are bleak, as they are now, citizens do not want their needs to be viewed as somehow being manipulative or designed so they can be ‘slackers’.  To have a sitting senator utter those sentiments in the midst of minute-by-minute jarring headlines during this pandemic is a new low.  

Before Johnson makes any more shameful comments about any program aimed at making the lives of people run smoother during this pandemic, he might take the advice of grandmothers everywhere and look to see what in his own yard might first need tending.

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