There is a virus in America; a contagion multiplying, embedded so deeply in our nation no amount of soap and water can wash it away. It is causing a stench so foul, no face mask can contain it.
In reflection, our immune system was vulnerable. We became complacent. Weakened as a society we were susceptible to an outside infection which allowed us to be contaminated by the deadliest virus our country has ever known. No, not the Coronavirus. Donald Trump.
The virus that has crippled our country is not only COVID 19 that is killing our citizens in record numbers but from the toxin that occupies our White House. The stench coming from the rotting corrosion of our core values is breathing the very life out our democracy.
The American century, it has been widely reported, has expired, passing fitfully in its slumber.
Trump’s infectious venom of hate, xenophobia, and pathological lies has unleashed the hatred and ignorance that has long lived in our country. Like the Epstein Barr virus, this venom in our system has lived there dormant, quietly waiting its time to reactivate. Being the opportunistic bug he is, Trump pounced, infecting us all. Like a virus, the hate multiplied.
Trump and his toxic administration have befouled what our great country once stood for.
The bright and shiny post-war country left to us by the greatest generation is now deeply tarnished, the dark layers of filth, ignorance, and rancor so widespread it feels unrecognizable.
Our country has more than lost its luster. Deeply divided, it is decaying in plain sight.
The American Century
Once upon a time, but not that long ago America stood at the pinnacle of the world, striding the globe like a colossus. The USA stood united and confident at the apex of global power and consumer abundance, racing boldly and confidently into the future.
For those too young to remember, this is not a fairy tale. This was the American Way for 75 years.
Victorious on opposite ends of the globe after WWII, America saw itself as the model for the world and American dreams were to become global ones.
If the sun was beginning to set over the British Empire at the end of the war, the sun would shine brightly over America’s post-war promise of tomorrow.
With self-assurance, we picked up the mantle as Leader of the Free World assuming our place as peacekeeper and guardian. If the world was broken we could fix it and like Humpty Dumpty put it back together again.
With our sparkling Pepsodent smiles Americans would meet our obligations to the free world- spreading democracy and offering a helping hand to people all around the globe- a Coke in every refrigerator and a Chevy in every garage.
This was what Henry Luce referred to when he challenged America to move forward and take our rightful place in the world. He declared it The American Century a phrase he coined in a Life Magazine editorial in 1941.
Post-war America saw Luce’s dream come to fruition and we were the envy of the world.
Moving forward at ever-increasing speed was what Americans expected from their country, their cars, their consumer goods, and their economy.
Now our country and its values have ground to a halt.
The dark and shameful shadows of bigotry and hate that had always lurked beneath the surface have now been encouraged and emboldened out into the open for all the world to see.
Once admired, we are now pitied.
In a widely circulated article from the Irish Times, Fintan O’ Toole writes about the state of our country. Sometimes it takes an outsider to express what we all know.
It is a bitter pill to swallow.
Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger. But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.
However bad things are for most other rich democracies, it is hard not to feel sorry for Americans. Most of them did not vote for Donald Trump in 2016. Yet they are locked down with a malignant narcissist who, instead of protecting his people from Covid-19, has amplified its lethality. The country Trump promised to make great again has never in its history seemed so pitiful.
Will American prestige ever recover from this shameful episode? The US went into the coronavirus crisis with immense advantages: precious weeks of warning about what was coming, the world’s best concentration of medical and scientific expertise, effectively limitless financial resources, a military complex with stunning logistical capacity and most of the world’s leading technology corporations. Yet it managed to make itself the global epicentre of the pandemic.
In a blink of an eye the American Century has come to a grinding halt. The shining city on a hill is now tarnished beyond recognition.
Now the once upon a time caretaker of the world, can’t even take care of her own people.
Copyright (©) 2020 Sally Edelstein All Rights Reserved