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Fri Apr 10, 2020, 12:25 PM

Covid-19 is killing off the myth that we are the greatest country on earth. [View all]

The Ideas That Won’t Survive the Coronavirus
Covid-19 is killing off the myth that we are the greatest country on earth.

By Viet Thanh Nguyen

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If anything good emerges out of this period, it might be an awakening to the pre-existing conditions of our body politic. We were not as healthy as we thought we were. The biological virus afflicting individuals is also a social virus. Its symptoms — inequality, callousness, selfishness and a profit motive that undervalues human life and overvalues commodities — were for too long masked by the hearty good cheer of American exceptionalism, the ruddiness of someone a few steps away from a heart attack.

Even if America as we know it survives the coronavirus, it can hardly emerge unscathed. If the illusion of invincibility is shredded for any patient who survives a near-fatal experience, then what might die after Covid-19 is the myth that we are the best country on earth, a belief common even among the poor, the marginal, the precariat, who must believe in their own Americanness if in nothing else.

Perhaps the sensation of imprisonment during quarantine might make us imagine what real imprisonment feels like. There are, of course, actual prisons where we have warehoused human beings who have no relief from the threat of the coronavirus. There are refugee camps and detention centers that are de facto prisons. There is the economic imprisonment of poverty and precariousness, where a missing paycheck can mean homelessness, where illness without health insurance can mean death.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/10/opinion/coronavirus-america.html

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Reply Covid-19 is killing off the myth that we are the greatest country on earth. [View all]
SouthernCal_Dem Apr 2020 OP
Aristus Apr 2020 #1
SamKnause Apr 2020 #2
FiveGoodMen Apr 2020 #3
Harker Apr 2020 #4