Monthly Conversation Experiment #1

'Right now, being an American means being nervous... also hopeful'

By PATRICIA SMITH of Narrowsburg, NY:
Posted 8/5/20

For me, right now, being an American means being nervous. Americans have plenty of things to be nervous about and these issues span all ideological divides.

I am nervous about the pandemic, which …

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Monthly Conversation Experiment #1

'Right now, being an American means being nervous... also hopeful'

Posted

For me, right now, being an American means being nervous. Americans have plenty of things to be nervous about and these issues span all ideological divides.

I am nervous about the pandemic, which we don’t fully understand and don’t seem to have under control across the country. I am nervous about the economy. I know so many people on unemployment and am particularly nervous about the future economic prospects of young people, those just graduating from high school and college and those with not that many years in the labor market. I am nervous about our political polarization and how it might adversely affect our ability to deal with all the things I am nervous about.

And yet, I am optimistic. We seemed to have contained the virus in New York, at least for now, and doctors are learning more about it every day. Americans who downplayed it as a coastal problem are taking it much more seriously. There are reports of many large employers, like Target and Walmart, raising their wages, in particular their entry-level wages. I am hopeful these corporations are recognizing the importance of their workers to their bottom line and that others will follow by raising wages. People, especially young people, seem more interested in voting. I saw the lines of people waiting to vote in places like Michigan and Georgia and know more than a few people who recently voted for the first time ever, usually by absentee ballot. There are conversations about racial inequality occurring that I could not imagine happening a few years ago. Americans have faced many challenges during our history and, while I am nervous, I am also hopeful that, despite our differences, we can and will face them together.

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