There’s a reason Americans are either woefully ignorant or terribly frightened about coronavirus.
It’s because coronavirus is the first war that’s been fought on American soil in almost 160 years.
Of course, there have been rhetorical wars in that time — the culture wars, war on the family, war on women, etc. — but however real that combat might have been, it never affected the entire country.
America, blessed by two gigantic bodies of water on its east and west flanks and friendly neighbors to its north and south, has not seen its land the site of conflict since the Civil War. It’s not rebuilt after a world war. It’s not bearing the pockmarks of recent previous battles. It’s rivers haven’t run red in more than a century and a half.
Coronavirus has changed everything.
Coronavirus has killed some of us. It will kill more of us.
Coronavirus demands that we hunker down, sacrifice, think of the broader good. It will demand that of us for the foreseeable future.
Coronavirus is our enemy. It will continue to be so, and its virulence will only be enhanced if millions of us act as if the war is somehow being fought over there.
It’s right here.
So far, America is acting like a nation that knows nothing about war on its home soil.