Why the saddest reality of COVID-19 is that not much can actually bring Americans together
March 2020 will go down in history as one of the most chaotic months to have ever occurred. The lives of every individual in the world shifted once social distancing began, countries went on lockdown and people of every nation were told to self-quarantine at home.
The horrible event that everyone thought was needed to reunite America had finally happened. This was supposed to bring everyone together for a common cause, an American cause.
Similar to World War II or the aftermath of 9/11, everyone believed that American politics had become so divisive that it would take a national catastrophe to unite us once again with a common purpose.
Plot twist: that doesn’t happen.
During the pandemic’s infancy, it seemed like Americans might rally around the president and heed his warnings about needing to shut down the country. Unfortunately, this did not last long. Before we could blink, the attacks erupted.
Time Magazine published an article titled “The Trump Administration Fumbled Its Initial Response to Coronavirus. Is There Enough Time to Fix It?” In it, they discuss how the current administration failed to respond to the virus with initial quick action, as they did not see it as a big deal.
Political commentators from both sides of the spectrum are arguing over whether or not Trump had a delayed response in responding to the CDC, or if he was receiving faulty information from the World Health Organization.
Now, as Trump claims he wishes to reopen the economy as soon as possible, people believe he is trying to fire Anthony Fauci, who has been his leading medical expert regarding COVID-19. The White House continues to deny these claims, but others want to push that Trump is ignoring medical advice to boost the American economy.
With attacks from Joe Biden on Trump’s decision to ban travel too soon, attacks from the president regarding the way Biden would have handled the situation, and the media festering this situation at every turn, it does not look like Americans will receive the return to unity they thought.
This has serious implications for the future of our nation.
If a national disaster lacks the ability to bring all Americans together for a single purpose, I fail to see that anything has the power to supersede the political lines that we have drawn in the sand.
There is psychological proof that suggests that the stress of going through disasters tends to make people bond in unusual ways, and therefore brings people together. It has proven true throughout history and should have proven true now.
Before this crisis has officially ended, the American media and politicians have already returned to their ways of attacking one another. This says two things about what we are experiencing as a nation right now.
First of all, it should provide some hope. If the media has time, once again, to attack the president, or as CNN decided, to not cover press conferences that he holds, that means that the news coverage can finally slow down on the coronavirus. If the virus is not the only thing to talk about, it might finally be winding down.
Secondly, and equally important to the future of our nation’s political system, is the implication this has on politics. The fact that either party can use this global pandemic to win political points is both disgusting and disturbing. During this time, how is it even possible to be concerned with a re-election or demeaning the leader of our nation as he guides us through one of the most troubling times in recent history?
How can we not call on politicians right now for unity? This is not about who wins the vote, it is about how many lives we can save. If politicians cannot see that, I don’t see future hope for America.
We need to step back and realize that politics cannot, in fact, must not, cloud our judgment in everything we do. Politics is not the end-all-be-all of this world and it does not need to be at the center of every decision or conversation. Some things are simply bigger than elections and political schemes.
This is my call to action: take a break from the partisan nonsense and realize when something is bigger than a party or a side. The president deserves to be rallied around when he is facing a crisis. The media deserves to be defended when they are reporting the facts.
It is scary that this crisis has again resulted in parties attacking one another and blaming one another for how we are reacting. If we cannot realize that we are people above party, then once, when we get past COVID-19, we will see we have another very large problem on our hands — and it, too, is an invisible enemy.