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Commentary & Opinion

Bill Owens: Confounding And Confusing Events 11/9/20

What a week, thank God it’s over.

In other interesting election news, four states legalized marijuana while it still remains illegal at the federal level.  In the articles that were written about those four states, one of the big reasons that legislators were supporting this is because of the huge potential tax revenue.  In these uncertain times, any source of revenue apparently looks good, even if it leaves you a little high.

An archeology discovery in South America found a huntress with the body of a prehistoric kill.  This, of course, is a major discovery because women were not considered to be hunters in the hunter/gatherer community.  This is certainly an interesting discovery and hopefully we will hear more about this over time as they dissect these communities of ancient peoples to determine the roles of men and women in them.  It may well be that they will discover that the roles were much different than they are today, and in a sense, more equal. 

Many world leaders have reached out to Mr. Biden with congratulations and sense of relief including Mr. Trudeau of Canada.  The sense of relief is palpable in their comments as is their sense that we will get back to normal in our relations with the world.  We suffered the humiliation of a name calling adolescent attempting to bully the world including our allies.  Thank God it’s over.

As the week wore on, we have all heard enough about the vote count.  More commentary is not necessary, a minute of silence or five would have been a real good idea.

That said, I think that as we move on from this election, we recognize that the country is incredibly divided.  We should recognize that more than 145,000,000 citizens have voted, the highest total ever.  Let’s think of all who voted as patriots and election workers as super patriots.  I’ve heard on the news, Trump supporters claiming fraud in the election without recognizing this calls into question the validity of the election of Republicans as well.  Did they really think this through.  The principal question going forward is can we all set aside our blind spots and listen or do we stick to the talking points. 

Democrats did not see a waive, in my view because of four (4) words:  Fracking; guns; black lives; socialism, those words and Mr. Trump’s barnstorming motivated Republicans and gave pause to independents no matter what they felt about Mr. Trump.  Trump supporters are reportedly saying they won’t recognize Joe Biden as their President.  These same words were spoken about Mr. Obama and Mr. Trump and that accomplished exactly what?  

On Wednesday the US reported 102,000 new cases of COVID (still climbing), and of course, hospitalizations and deaths are going up as the latter tends to follow a couple of weeks behind a surge in new cases.  It did not go away Mr. Trump.  It would seem to me that a mandate that everyone wear masks when they are out in public meaning outside of your office at work, outside of your home, outside of your car, you must have a mask on, is what needs to be implemented.  Even if there is objection and people who don’t believe that this really will have a positive impact, I would hope that they would at least allow us to experiment with it for a month and see what impact it actually has.  If it does not have an impact, then so be it, we will move on from that, but if it does, I think those opposed to masks should be open to keeping it in place for a longer period of time.  Read about North and South Dakota for a real insight into irrational thought.

Wall Street continues its rally as Biden continues to gain.  This is somewhat counter intuitive particularly given the Republican narrative that they are far better for the economy and certainly for Wall Street.  It appears that Wall Street may not share that analysis and find both of them equally good, bad or irrelevant to business.  

Boris Johnson leads Britain into a virtual lockdown as the COVID virus surges there. Certainly, there is resistance and there is risk to the economy, but even a conservative leader in Britain sees the necessity to take appropriate steps to control the virus.

Continuing on the virus front, many of the counties that are being hit the hardest by the surge in the COVID voted for Mr. Trump.  Clearly that is an expression on their part that they believe his laissez faire policies have worked.  This of course is contrary to the facts on the ground.  Again, very troubling, and hard to understand as this virus surges and we are going to see in the near-term increased hospitalizations and thus great strains on hospitals and other medical professions.  Maybe if it reaches a real crisis in terms of either the hospitals or deaths, people will wake up and reconsider.

Bill Owens is a former member of Congress representing the New York 21st, a partner in Stafford, Owens, Piller, Murnane, Kelleher and Trombley in Plattsburgh, NY and a Strategic Advisor at Dentons to Washington, DC.

The views expressed by commentators are solely those of the authors. They do not necessarily reflect the views of this station or its management.

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