How Covid-19 Signals the End of the American Era - Rolling Stone


Published by ROLLINGSTONE.COM

Summary generated on August 12, 2020


    In a dark season of pestilence, COVID has reduced to tatters the illusion of American exceptionalism.

    A single American factory, Chrysler's Detroit Arsenal, built more tanks than the whole of the Third Reich.

    On D-Day, June 6th, 1944, the Allied death toll was 4,414; in 2019, domestic gun violence had killed that many American men and women by the end of April.

    Only six percent of American homes had grandparents living beneath the same roof as grandchildren; elders were abandoned to retirement homes.

    The average American father spends less than 20 minutes a day in direct communication with his child.

    Fully a fifth of American households have zero or negative net worth, a figure that rises to 37 percent for black families.

    With the COVID crisis, 40 million Americans lost their jobs, and 3.3 million businesses shut down, including 41 percent of all black-owned enterprises.

    The cardinal rule of American social policy - don't let any ethnic group get below the blacks, or allow anyone to suffer more indignities - rang true even in a pandemic, as if the virus was taking its cues from American history.

    As the crisis unfolded, with another American dying every minute of every day, a country that once turned out fighter planes by the hour could not manage to produce the paper masks or cotton swabs essential for tracking the disease.

    The percentage of American victims of the disease who died was six times the global average.

    The American president lives to cultivate resentments, demonize his opponents, validate hatred.

    In a complete abandonment of the collective good, U.S. laws define freedom as an individual's inalienable right to own a personal arsenal of weaponry, a natural entitlement that trumps even the safety of children; in the past decade alone 346 American students and teachers have been shot on school grounds.

    American politicians dismiss the Scandinavian model as creeping socialism, communism lite, something that would never work in the United States.

    The end of the American era and the passing of the torch to Asia is no occasion for celebration, no time to gloat.

    American ideals, as celebrated by Madison and Monroe, Lincoln, Roosevelt, and Kennedy, at one time inspired and gave hope to millions.