In which today I play the part of the soothsayer where I’ll postulate how this pandemic will reshape the political, social, and economic order in the USA.
1. The world economy is completely decimated. It will take a long time to recover, moreover this recovery will never return us to where we were on February 20, 2020. Those happy days are in the past, folks. Get used to diminished economic performance for many years to come. Some industries may never recover, such as leisure travel, restaurants, live sports and entertainment events, and any other businesses where great numbers of people gather together.
2. The very fragile United States of America union could split as the coastal states (New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, et al. in the east; California, Oregon, and Washington in the West) will simply ignore Trump and his flaccid and incompetent Federal Executive Branch. It’s increasingly clear Trump is insane, incompetent, and incapable of leadership. This we knew before the crisis began, but it has been amplified 1000 times greater in the last month. The man is a half-witted, delusional, utterly self-absorbed megalomaniac with zero empathy and very few skills that matter in this crisis.
3. I have grave doubts there will even be a 2020 Presidential election, which of course will only further split the union. Trump and the crazy, power-mad Republicans care only for preserving the wealth of the mega-rich and for little else, therefore they will greedily and illegally try to hold onto power through nefarious means. Plus the tens of millions of deluded nut jobs who blindly follow these people are also heavily-armed, fanatical, and extremely stupid. It could get ugly. There could actually be a secession crisis in the next decade. The USA is on very thin ice that ice is melting fast.
4. Until there is a vaccine (if that is even possible) or some kind of medial therapy that lessens the deadliest effects of the COVID-19 virus, the world cannot return to any kind of “normalcy” and social interaction between people. It could be a year or even two years before this crisis fully subsides. The pandemic will rise and fall and rise again in waves until, as I said, there’s a vaccine or efficacious medical therapies that greatly lessen its mortality rate.
5. The immense suffering has just begun, first from the virus itself, and soon it will come from the economic collapse. Untold tens of millions of people are going to be left poorer, hungrier, and more desperate with each passing month. I have no idea how even the most astute economists can predict what will happen next—this is unprecedented, and furthermore we have no idea how long the medical crisis itself will last before the economic problems can even be rightly addressed.
Is there any good news? Sure. People are essentially good and just and strong. Especially we American people. The good that will come from this is that we will all have to grow up and become much healthier, less consumption-crazed, and more empathetic to the plight of others. This virus is unleashing the dark forces of natural selection and humanity will of course learn to adapt and change to survive. This will come at a great price and with immense suffering. The worst darkness has yet to come before we will see much light. But we will see light again. We will prevail. It won’t come quickly and without casualties. In the end we’ll survive and thrive.
That is all the hope I need. I may not make it, but humanity will. Maybe it will make humanity better.