A thick cloud of melancholy covers the country. There is also an unprecedented feeling of weakness, an awareness that the country is in danger of losing what sets it apart – what made it what it is – its uniqueness and renowned ‘exceptionalism’. There is a sense that it no longer towers over and stands beyond any other country. She doesn’t rule the world; they don't take her seriously – like they used to.
She has lost the mentality of "yes we can” and “we can do anything,” exemplified by John F. Kennedy’s ringing declaration: “We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”
The country that defeated fascism and communism, the richest country in the world and the most militarily powerful country in the history of mankind, stumbled when confronted by a virus.
Other countries, smaller and humbler ones, have faced and are dealing with the virus much better than America is.
Greece, for example, has won international admiration on this issue.
The lack of trust of Europeans in how the United States is handling the Coronavirus is so great that they decided to ban Americans from entering their countries. They put the health of their citizens above economic benefit.
And they did well to do so.
David Brooks, a thoughtful commentator for the New York Times and author of The Road to Character, began a commentary last week as follows:
"We Americans enter the July 4 weekend of 2020 humiliated as almost never before. We had one collective project this year and that was to crush Covid-19, and we failed.”
And he remembers another great American commentator: “In 1970, in a moment like our own, Irving Kristol wrote, ‘In the same way as men cannot for long tolerate a sense of spiritual meaninglessness in their individual lives, so they cannot for long accept a society in which power, privilege, and property are not distributed according to some morally meaningful criteria.’”
And these are evident in today's America.
That said, I must conclude with Happy Birthday, America – Happy 4th of July, America!
I hope you all had a great holiday weekend.