220 Democrats voted for final passage of the $1.9 trillion COVID relief plan, described as “one of the most consequential pieces of legislation in modern history” and supported by a significant majority of Americans.
The bill is now on its way to the White House for President Joe Biden’s signature, just before some unemployment benefits expire on Sunday.
No (zero)Republicans voted for the legislation matching the craven vote of their Republican Senate counterparts, notching another despicable zero on the GOP belt.
“A zero itself is nothing, but without a zero you cannot count anything; therefore, a zero is something, yet zero.” – Dalai Lama.
Volumes have been written about the mathematical, scientific, philosophical – even emotional and psychological — significance and meaning of the number zero.
It has been referred to as one of the greatest innovations in human history, “perhaps the greatest abstraction the human mind has ever created.”
We are all familiar with the central and powerful role the number zero plays in our number system and, consequently, in mathematics.
Depending on its place before or after the decimal point and on how many zeros are used, a sequence of zeros can represent something infinitesimally small or something astronomically large.
It can symbolize the concept of nothingness, utter emptiness — a void.
As a matter of fact, the word zero is derived from the Sanskrit sunya, meaning void or empty, through the Arabic sifr (empty or vacant), through the Italian zephyr (zefiro) and finally contracted into the Venetian zero.
It can evoke totally different emotional reactions depending on the context: There were zero casualties vs. there were zero survivors.
Or, depending on the scale of reference such as in zero degrees Kelvin vs, zero degrees Celsius, a misinterpretation could be disastrous.
In numerology, the number zero takes on spiritual connotations – even “sacred” values — and can have positive and negative “features.”
In Numeroscop, we read as part of the negative features of the number zero: “… concepts as emptiness, chaos, lie, non-existence, mystery and death.”
During these past twelve months, we have seen plenty of zeros quantifying the tragedies and setbacks Americans have suffered because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Americans have died from the virus.
Americans are unemployed.
Americans have contracted the virus.
On the bright side, more than 90,000,000 Americans have been vaccinated.
Finally, on Saturday, the U.S. Senate passed a much needed $1,900,000,000,000 economic stimulus plan that will truly help Americans, the economy, and the nation “turn the corner.”
Shamefully, there was a single zero that illustrates all the “negative features” of that number: Utter emptiness in heart and soul, void of conscience, non-existence of compassion or responsibility…
Zero is the number of Republican Senators who voted for the stimulus bill, who voted for the welfare – sometimes the very survival – of their constituents.
It is a number that will go down in infamy, along with that ignominious day two months ago.
The author is a retired U.S. Air Force officer and a writer.