What an extraordinary time! Although the COVID-19 quarantine began in the U.S. only a few months ago, so much has changed. Just before quarantine in early March, the stock market was climbing. Unemployment numbers across all industries and demographics were at 50-year lows. The economy was still comfortably growing in the range of 3%.
Only 90 days or so later, our lives are filled with uncertainty. Unemployment is now at a level not seen in 90 years, and 40 million fellow citizens are out of work. The virus has infected more than 2 million people in the U.S. and cost more than 120,000 lives. The stock market dropped 30%, rose and then dropped again. The Federal Reserve, in an effort to stave off a depression, announced its intention of holding interest rates near 0% through 2021, and Congress authorized an additional $3.3 trillion of new federal spending. Instead of economic growth, the economy contracted 6%.
Add to all that, racial tensions in the U.S. were lit like a fuse on dynamite after repeated instances of police brutality, culminating in the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In cities small and large, protestors stood up and said enough already! Political divides widened, and national unity seemed to crumble. George Floyd’s death resulted in a visceral reaction that spanned the entire globe. Extraordinary times indeed.
It’s difficult to find words to match this moment. I am saddened by so much of what I am seeing. Political dysfunction in Washington, D.C., has only inflamed passions rather than united citizens. The left and right are in an endless struggle for power but to what end? It seems that when either side finally gains it, they immediately set out to squander the power citizens have given them in a desire to hold on to it even more tightly. Fear of losing power seems to freeze them in place. It’s a status quo that unrelentingly refuses to change. This is where you come in.
I have always said politicians are most fearful the day before an election and most courageous the day after. The reason is simple: In their quest for power, it is on election day that they are the most powerless. Only the voters have power that day—as long as they are willing to wield it. In our system of government, that’s the one time when the status quo can be shattered. Given everything that has happened so far in 2020, I expect a massive turnout of voters in November. Make sure your vote is counted.
There is another way you can count. You can contribute to ROOFPAC, the only political action committee dedicated to supporting the roofing industry’s interests in Washington, D.C. ROOFPAC seeks out the best candidates who understand the lives of businesses like yours and supports candidates for Congress that NRCA believes will do one simple thing: give us good government. Helping qualified candidates get elected can launch NRCA’s government relations activity to a new level. As more people see what inept government looks like, the awareness of the need for better candidates certainly increases.
But because of the COVID-19 crisis, NRCA has been forced to cancel its traditional July ROOFPAC fundraiser event in Chicago. This annual event is essential to continuing the great work our Washington, D.C., staff does on your behalf. I am concerned NRCA will fall hopelessly behind in its lobbying efforts as a result of not being able to hold this event. So I am asking you to support ROOFPAC with a contribution of any size. You can do so at www.nrca.net/advocacy/ROOFPAC/contribute. And for NRCA to be able to contribute those dollars to the campaigns of qualified candidates, the funds must come from your personal checkbook or credit card.
Take a moment and think about all our team in Washington, D.C., has done and accomplished during the past few months. Numerous pieces of legislation and administrative rules have been written to help you manage your business during the COVID-19 crisis. Paycheck Protection Program funding alone saved many U.S. roofing companies. From day one, NRCA led an industrywide effort to deem roofing work as essential to the U.S. economy and safety of its inhabitants. For the Washington, D.C., team to continue the good work they do, ROOFPAC is essential.
If a personal contribution is not possible, you can help with a corporate contribution to our ROOFPAC administrative fund, which will help make our efforts more sustainable and help cover some of our expenses in Washington, D.C. You can do so by contacting NRCA’s Director of Federal Affairs Teri Dorn at email@example.com or (202) 400-2590. Our presence has never been more needed, and your help has never been more important.
And despite what has happened so far this year, I remain persistently optimistic. Our nation and industry have survived every challenge they have faced. They will continue to do so. The roofing industry is replete with the type of people who have made the U.S. so successful and industrious. Without regard to a few terrible months, I know soon it will be better. Be well.
This column is part of News + Views. Click here to read additional stories from this section.