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Political Partisanship In Post-Covid-19 America?

Following the previous blog on putting aside partisanship during the troubled times of the COVID-19 pandemic, I was asked “what will happen to political partisanship in a post-COVID-19 America?” My answer was “it depends on how each one of us responds to this pandemic.” But after a few weeks of coronavirus lockdown, I can say that the American response provides some reasons for optimism.

Millions of Americans of all political persuasions pulled together to protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us. Health care workers risked their lives to save infected patients’ lives. Average Americans provided care and comfort to the elderly and to those who had lost their incomes overnight. Volunteers delivered free meals from fast food restaurants. Students received free storage and Wi-Fi. Many companies joined the war on the coronavirus to increase our testing capacity, manufacture protective equipment, sanitizers, disinfectants, respirators and ventilators. Pharmaceutical and biotech companies launched short-term and long-term research programs to develop drug treatments and vaccines. Most importantly, 150 million Americans complied with stay-at-home orders staying apart from their families and friends to save the lives of fellow Americans and do what’s best for their country. This behavior reveals the existence of a high level of social responsibility among Americans of all ages.

This response is inspirational because just two years ago, civil leaders like Robert B Reich (former Secretary of Labor) warned that we are losing our national identity because we are losing our sense of the common good. I agreed with his assessment that irresponsible individualism resulted in a loss of social trust. And that’s why I proposed the People-Over-Politics Action Plan which recommends the institution of curricula to teach young Americans the notions of interdependence, social responsibility, and mutual responsibility. I trust that the COVID-19 experience will occupy several chapters in those curricula.

Will the spirit that “we are all in this together” survive after the coronavirus threat has dissipated? We can’t be sure but we do know that this pandemic has changed the way we interact with each other and it appears to be for the good.


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