What This Crisis Has Revealed

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Some good things to think about from Viet Thanh Nguyen:

We are not yet at the halfway point of our drama. We have barely made it to the end of the first act, when we slowly awaken to the threat coming our way and realize we must take some kind of action. That action, for now, is simply doing what we must to fight off Covid-19 and survive as a country, weakened but alive.

The halfway point comes only when the hero meets a worthy opponent — not one who is weak or marginal or different, but someone or something that is truly monstrous. Covid-19, however terrible, is only a movie villain. Our real enemy does not come from the outside, but from within. Our real enemy is not the virus but our response to the virus — a response that has been degraded and deformed by the structural inequalities of our society.

America has a history of settler colonization and capitalism that ruthlessly exploited natural resources and people, typically the poor, the migratory, the black and the brown. That history manifests today in our impulse to hoard, knowing that we live in an economy of self-reliance and scarcity; in our dependence on the cheap labor of women and racial minorities; and in our lack of sufficient systems of health care, welfare, universal basic income and education to take care of the neediest among us.

What this crisis has revealed is that, while almost all of us can become vulnerable — even corporations and the wealthy — our government prioritizes the protection of the least vulnerable. 

Read his entire piece at The New York Times.