On January 31st, 2024, Eric Klinenberg, Director of the Institute for Public Knowledge, penned an opinion piece for The New York Times titled “We Were Wrong About What Happened to America in 2020” Read the excerpt below, then click for the full article.
In other ways, 2020 seems like another lifetime. The pandemic ended; we went on with our lives. Yet by considerable margins, people still say they feel alienated, vulnerable, unsafe. It’s only now becoming clear how little we understood what the United States experienced during that unforgettable year and how deeply it shaped us.
I’ve come to think of our current condition as a kind of long Covid, a social disease that intensified a range of chronic problems and instilled the belief that the institutions we’d been taught to rely on are unworthy of our trust. The result is a durable crisis in American civic life. Just look at the election cycle we are about to fall into: It seems like the world turned upside down several times, and yet here we are facing the prospect of another contest between Joe Biden and Donald Trump, as though the country hasn’t moved forward an inch. Everything changed, and yet almost nothing changed at all.
Read the full article here.
Photo credits: Chris W. Kim/The New York Times