Every generation of people in America has faced an event that dramatically changed their world. Baby Boomers faced the Civil Rights movement, the JFK assassination, and the Cold War. Generation X faced Watergate, the Vietnam War, and a continuing struggle for Civil Rights. Millennials faced the Great Recession and 9/11. So far, Generation Z (Zoomers) has not had an event like this, but maybe the coronavirus will be one of the events that defined Generation Z. We’re here out of school, watching this virus disrupt our lives, waiting for this event to end when nothing is certain.
In history classes, students often have to understand and explain key historical terms. These terms can be historical events or just overarching themes, and I believe that the coronavirus could be a historical term for people 100-200 years from now look at. While this may be a minor event in the broad span of history, this pandemic has huge effects on American society, effects which I am going to take a closer look at. Here’s why I think the coronavirus is a pivotal moment in American history, for Generation Z and everyone involved:
The Trump Administration’s Legacy
President Trump’s underdog election was itself an unconventional moment, as he promised to focus on struggling rural communities. This unusual promise along with his distrustful past and egotism has made his administration a whirlwind, especially as he is one of the few impeached presidents. While he has issued tax reform and killed the leader of ISIS, both important moments, his administration still has some bad failures. However, the sheer magnitude of the coronavirus seems that it could make or break his reputation as a president. With inadequate preparation despite numerous signs along, the President has managed to make this serious concern into an American fiasco. America looks bound to hit over a million cases and 50,000 deaths and has been the #1 country with the most cases for weeks.
Furthermore, while President Trump claims testing is being done rapidly, governors abnegate his statement. He has been in dispute with medical and state officials, and this pandemic also illustrates the conflict between the federal versus the state government, a classic discord in American politics. There’s no consistency in their plans, and President Trump’s briefings seem to confuse rather than explain. Considering that a new election is coming up, his mishandling of the virus could be detrimental to his reelection.
Continuing Series of Diseases
If you haven’t noticed in the past 15-20 years, disease has been appearing every two or four years, especially on election years. While this isn’t a fact, this is an interesting trend. 2004, SARS. 2008, AVIAN. 2010, Swine Flu. 2012, Mers. 2014 and 2018, Ebola. 2016, Zika. Disease has affected the U.S., but not on this scale before.
But what interests me more is how medical officials predict that the flu or another version of the coronavirus could reappear this winter. While this current quarantine period is unfavorable, we could be in quarantine again this year and have to face these challenges again. Things could get worse for 2020. Imagine that?
Mass Unemployment and the Economy
The U.S. has not had this much unemployment since the Great Recession, as millions of jobs are being lost. Unemployment percentages are in the double-digits, and no one knows when businesses will reopen. While some governors are advocating for reopening, the country does not seem ready. People are waiting on stimulus checks, but these checks may not be enough to pay bills and support families.
Businesses big and small are suffering, and it is questionable if the U.S. will recover soon. If you would like a deeper analysis of the coronavirus’ impact on the economy, please click here.
While I have presented all the negative effects of the coronavirus, I do see one positive change. Solidarity. As I spend my nights watching TV, ads emphasizing how we are apart but not alone are everywhere. Individuals are relying on their communities more than ever to help businesses that might not survive the pandemic. The U.S. is thanking those doctors, nurses, volunteer deputies, and everyone else working hard on the front lines. This part may not go back into the history books, but those who directly experienced this pandemic will certainly consider America’s unanimity in crisis. I don’t know how long this will be, but I’m sure that America can come back as strong and vibrant as it always has been.
Stay tuned to The Roundup for more coverage during the coronavirus pandemic!