The first presidential debate was full of bickering, bluster and interruptions.
But if you listened very closely to President Donald Trump
and Joe Biden they did touch upon some issues that are very
important for the Eastern Shore and other communities.
They just did not talk about those enough.
Trump brought up the economic, social and mental health impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and continued closures of schools and businesses.
Lost jobs, pay cuts, closed schools and social isolation are all major concerns on the Shore and in other communities.
We cannot stress enough our continued concerns about the economic strains of the pandemic and what would happen to jobs and small businesses if there is return to some kind of widespread shutdown. Many small businesses and the jobs they create in Easton, St. Michaels, Cambridge and other towns are still in jeopardy. We desperately need to see more vision and more solutions from Biden and Trump on how they will help recoup jobs lost because of the pandemic and how they will help local businesses survive in the short and long terms.
There are also the under-reported impacts of the pandemic on mental health, substance abuse and suicides. We need to be talking more about how some of our neighbors and coworkers might be struggling with all the pandemic has thrown at us. Social isolation and economic strains have resulted in setbacks and major challenges for some of our neighbors dealing with depression, anxiety and addictions.
Children’s mental health and suicide prevention are the topics of APG Media of Chesapeake’s upcoming Chesapeake Bay Live Stronger Together virtual speakers series on Oct. 8 and 15 with experts from the For All Seasons Behavioral Health and Rape Crisis Center. These virtual forums show where we can turn to for resources and let those of us struggling that we are not alone.
These are conversations we all need to be having.
We are not holding our breath but hope that Trump and Biden talk more about these impacts going forward.
Biden also brought up the disproportionate impacts COVID-19 has had on African Americans.
The pandemic has hit some communities much harder than others. Hispanics, for example, make up 12.5 percent of Maryland’s population but make up close to 22 percent of the state’s COVID-19 cases, according to the Maryland Department of Health.
The pandemic as well as its economic impacts have exposed social and class divides on the Shore and across the country. Access to health care and insurance coverage have been part the problem in helping patients get treatment for the virus. We need to see more vision from Trump and Biden on how to expand access to health care and how that will impact voters.
The divides are also showing up as many students continue to attend classes virtually. Some of our neighbors continue to lack internet access and that is forcing kids to either miss online classes or dropout. We wish Biden and Trump would talk about more about their ideas for economic development and bringing more broadband to the Shore and other communities.
There is plenty of bluster about the debate and all its squabbling and hollering. But there were moments where Biden and Trump did touch on issues that actually matter to the Eastern Shore. We just need to see a whole lot more of that going forward. But again, we won’t hold our breath.