Is the government afraid to ask Americans to make material changes to support the country?
When we were at war, the U.S. used to call for citizens to sacrifice for the war effort. Rationing of materials like gas was one of the ways people could make sure that they supported the military. Buying war bonds was another. Propaganda posters unabashedly correlated personal patriotism with what you were doing to help America win a conflict. Today they will know our patriotism by our American flag swimsuits.
We are at war now, and the enemy isn’t a foreign government, it’s a virus. It’s killing our citizens, eroding our economy and impacting our way of life. Instead of seeing leadership from our government, asking Americans to make sacrifices to contain the virus, we witness inaction. It’s as if the image of Jimmy Carter in a cardigan asking for conservation of electricity has poisoned any political impulse to ask Americans to do something they may not want to do. If it were only reticence to ask for sacrifice that was holding us back, though, we might still be more successful at combating the disease. Instead we witness an approach from the federal government that expects to be able to will the virus away. You can’t blame a virus on the opposition political party, but that hasn’t stopped our leadership from trying. The results speak for themselves.
One of the more effective ways of controlling the spread, contact tracing, faces a skeptical and suspicious public, thereby crippling its efficacy. From NPR: Conspiracy Theories Aside, Here’s What Contact Tracers Really Do
Contact tracing is the public health practice of informing people when they’ve been exposed to a contagious disease. As it has become more widely employed across the U.S., it has also become mired in modern political polarization and conspiracy theories.
Misinformation abounds, from tales that people who talk to contact tracers will be sent to nonexistent “FEMA camps” — a rumor so prevalent that health officials in Washington state had to put out a statement in May debunking it — to elaborate theories that the efforts are somehow part of a plot by global elites, such as the Clinton Foundation, Bill Gates or George Soros.
Our federal government winks and nods at the conspiracy theories that make unified efforts of disease control impossible. All that comes from our government serves to set people against each other. We will never have the unity required to fight a war until this changes.