During a state of emergency, the true character of a nation becomes known. Given the confusion and mistrust exacerbated by the coronavirus, might it be reasonable to conclude that we have lost our common identity as Americans? Perhaps decades of political bickering have at last taken their toll, rendering the United States a nation untrue to name.
Divide and conquer, a tactic usually reserved for foreign policy now seems more applicable domestically, not as evidence of a conspiracy but as the modus operandi of a plutocracy operating under the guise of democracy. Isn’t that why millions of Americans are mired in frustration, unable to make a difference as they rail against the other half and struggle to stay afloat?
Sadly, the issues that consume so much of our time are largely irrelevant, especially in retrospect. From one scandal to the next we are kept occupied and consequently impotent. Have we blurred the lines between news and entertainment such that we no longer make the distinction between journalism and editorial? Or have we simply become so engrossed in ourselves and our specific pursuit of happiness that anything to the contrary we explicitly deny?
In this age of the individual as a brand, we require from others the most granular classifications of ourselves and our preferences. Has cultural hypersensitivity made us numb to reality? We cling to our gadgets and our opinions while our standard of living erodes. Ample choice in the marketplace gives us the illusion of prosperity while quality housing, healthcare, and education shift from middle-class options to luxuries of the well-to-do.
Until we recognize the need to disengage from news-media-driven diversions, we cannot hope to reach any kind of consensus, let alone solidarity. If we could agree on one fundamental principle and initiate a corresponding plan of action relevant to the crisis of our division, we just might open the door for innovative solutions, tangible in their impact and healing in nature.
As it stands we pledge allegiance not to the flag but to the opposing colors within it. Might its symbolism have changed as a result? In the red, white, and blue, might red and blue simply be the means by which white exercises power, white signifying the all-encompassing reach of the mega-rich? Through the amoral instrument of the corporation, the nation’s most powerful people lobby on both sides of the political spectrum, indifferent to the rhetoric so long as their influence dictates policy.