America weathered the Great Depression, two World Wars, other conflicts and upheavals during the past centuries – all rife with uncertainties and personal sacrifice. Few lived through these trials unscathed. There were huge losses of life and fortunes. Many people were forever changed as a result, but as a people, Americans survived.
In recent decades, we have experienced organized, well funded, efforts to destroy American government and culture as we know it and take down our Electoral College and current president. Our governments, media and neighbors are strongly polarized – from communists and progressive socialists, to moderate liberals and conservatives, to right-wing zealots. Many aware citizens’ daily lives – belief systems and emotions — are impacted to one degree or another by these forces of hate.
And now with the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has virtually shut down America and other nations, except for essential services. Aside from the terrible death toll, widespread illness and economic devastation – people wonder when, how and if ever it will all end.
Widespread use of face masks and gloves, social distancing and sheltering-in-place are all part of ‘the new normal’ – which isn’t normal at all. Loved ones are forbidden from visiting relatives in hospitals; large weddings and celebrations, plus live entertainment, just aren’t happening and many poor lonely elderly persons are suffering unusually harsh isolation.
Whether COVID-19 was a terrible accident or an engineered social experiment – America is, in large part, re-examining its traditions and culture. It can almost be guaranteed our nation will become less dependent on foreign countries for vital products and services. Less, if any, Rx medicines, will be manufactured overseas. Less of our foods will be processed or packaged in developing countries – and these industrial shifts will bring more American jobs and new praise for the phrase ‘Made in America.’
Even the most avid sports fanatic has learned how to live without arena or televised sports – while at the same time people have growing awareness and respect for our true American heros. These heros include doctors, nurses, and other healthcare providers; law enforcement, fire/rescue squads and all participants in our vital food chain – from the farmers, to warehouse and retail store workers – and front-line checkout clerks at the market. Many of us have learned the difference between what we truly need and what we merely want. One wonders if athletes and actors might be paid too much, and the folks who help us survive may be paid too little!
Our at-home dynamics have changed, with those living in small spaces often having a tougher time than those with larger abodes. But working and schooling at home has shown what’s possible through technology – saving commuting time, gasoline and inordinately high tuition. ‘Too much togetherness’ requires new strategies and techniques, but really catching up with family members can be priceless. Cooking at home can mean less wasteful packaging and healthier ingredients.
We are spending and buying less, cleaning and decluttering our homes and enjoying nature more on our fresh-air walks. Life can seem lonelier now for singles and couples whose families have left the nest – but we can all communicate by phone, e-mail or video, if we wish. We can also offer help to neighbors like never before.
Online purchases and delivery of food and medicine are essential for the ill and frail elderly, with shipping companies thriving. Increasing stress as the pandemic draws on will exacerbate pre-existing emotional instability or mental illness – leading to destructive behaviors, drug and alcohol. More assistance needs to be available to many.
Lastly, many of us have the time to peruse various news media and discern objective stories from fake news – and most of all – with our current abnormal restrictions – we are no doubt able to appreciate America’s freedoms more – to cherish the small things in life and be grateful for our exceptional American way of life.