As COVID-19 has become our new reality, I wrestle internally on what that means, holding two opposing thoughts.


The first is more optimistic. I hope we learn from this in countless ways. I hope we become a kinder nation realizing our petty differences pale in comparison to how connected, fragile and alike we really are. I hope we pause and direct America toward a future where kids no longer count on school for food, where the marginalized are no longer forgotten, and health care is accessible to all. I hope we take the time to address the complex social factors that are woven into America, as well as the economic disparities we know that are there.


My pessimistic side is much darker. My outlook on Americans, at least most of you, is dire. You see life through your ideology, you live in a bubble that protects and feeds your preconceived notions of right and wrong, moral or immoral, just or unjust. Very few things or people can penetrate said bubble — a changed mind a rare event.


I will assume for a moment that most everyone who reads this can understand facts even for a fleeting moment before the ideology kicks in, yes? OK, then.


We knew this was coming and our leadership chose early on to ignore it. Our intelligence services were raising concerns in November, culminating to the point that this virus in early January began to show up in the presidential daily briefing. In the richest nation ever, we were so ill-prepared on so many levels. How?


China and the World Health Organization certainly didn’t help early on, but nonetheless, led by President Trump and joined by many more from both sides of the aisle in the earliest of days, equates into what so far has looked like in so many ways a Third-World job when it comes to the coronavirus.


States fighting states for personal protection equipment, testing blunders out of the Centers for Disease Control, and having no national strategic plan or leadership hurt us in incalculable ways. The results are that so many have died, will die, all while we just surpassed the 1 million case mark. The toll on the economy is immeasurable, now having some 26 million Americans unemployed.


Give or take some 40 percent of you see what has been done, will be done, what I write, the inarguable facts that are out there through the lens of being a Republican, led clearly by a narcissistic man with the shallowest of egos. President Trump is the antithesis of a leader, he is an egotistical man baby. You will love him nonetheless, damn any single fact that points to his contrary. You are not a thriving part of the electorate, you have become a droid of sorts, fed only what you have been programmed for, and those who disagree with you are not good people who simply disagree on policies. They have become much more dangerous. They are the enemy. Your programming has become complete.


Give or take some 40 percent of you see what has been done, will be done, what I write, the inarguable facts that are out there through the lens of being a Democrat. The same applies. Your programming is completed.


So where does this leave us in the midst of a global pandemic and a crumbling economy? Who knows? There once was a time when the world looked for America to lead the way in times of trouble. Today, because of our internal divisions, China has grown exponentially more powerful on the world stage and you can rest assured the communist party at the top doesn’t have any division. They have a singular goal. Let America continue to crumble from within.


While America consumes itself with internal self-hatred and endless finger pointing, they have modernized a formidable military backed by a population of over a billion people. The crumbling of America has external consequences as well. Our allies don’t trust us as they once did. The shining beacon of hope and freedom we once stood for has been dimmed by America’s feckless leadership interwoven with a self-absorbed populace.


America will never change for the better until we, as its citizenry, discard our childlike bickering, break the changes of ideological programming, come together in mass numbers demanding a government that really works for the people, not just the 1 percent or Big Business. We have that opportunity post-COVID. It really comes down to each of us.


— Todd Leva is a resident of Zeeland. He can be contacted at toddleva@att.net.