improvements in American life will likely follow the taming of the novel coronavirus.
The most far-reaching change over time could be the movement toward a more Tenth Amendment federal system with states having more power. The Founders desired that states would become laboratories of Democracy so that lessons learned in one state could be copied by others.
Today the individual states coincidentally employ many laboratories to provide test results on COVID-19 and work together to provide other urgent supplies. Although the decisions made are sometimes right and sometimes wrong ultimately the best will be clearly apparent to an interested public. After the pandemic, there is no reason that this delegated and focused process should not continue regularly on many other issues after it is defeated.
A significant improvement too will be government leaning more on private enterprise to solve problems. In the current pandemic businesses having both an altruistic and profit motive are stepping up. Distillers repurposed alcohol used in hand sanitizing. Ford refitted its plant to produce respirators. And there are many other examples. Dan Henninger of the Wall Street Journal sums it up: “A hard-to-miss reality is that without the remarkable adaptability of numerous private companies now producing COVID-19 therapies and equipment - if instead, the U.S. system was Medicare for All - we would resemble gasping Spain or Italy.”
Also, Americans now see regulations as an impediment to performance rather than help. Almost all the rapid progress in the current crisis has been the bypassing or the elimination of regulations to speed up all processes to save lives. President Trump began this process much earlier with his policy of requiring two regulations to be eliminated for every additional one passed.
There will be less globalization. The public will insist on making America’s borders stronger. The pandemic is a reminder that our government’s first loyalty is to us. President Trump with his America First approach was ahead of the curve on this one too.
Individual American’s health and their health care system will be improved. We each have now been made fully aware that touching things, not washing hands, and other’s proximity can be risky. This realization will further an awareness of the importance of preventative health care. In addition, our health care system will become more efficient because of telemedicine.
Education in America will improve. Many parents who have been forced to homeschool their kids have found they like it and will continue it, benefiting all of America and its children. Additionally, universities with the now greater penetration of online learning will be pressured to become more efficient and over time less costly. Americans have learned that they can learn online with great instructors to good effect.
Businesses will become more efficient. Many businesses have been forced to have more employees work from home online in the current crisis and now have a system for it. Many will find it to be more efficient and will continue the process. A side benefit will be that these now homebound parents now will be spending more time beneficially with their children.
Social media and the internet will be used in a more positive way. And its role will change. A church I am very familiar with by necessity has had its weekly worship service live-streamed on its website with Facebook during the crisis, in the process learning it could effectively reach a much larger audience. It could never replace the real thing but it works for many.
The American family and the faith of many will become stronger. Many marriages will likely grow stronger as each spouse now realizes their dependence on the other for many things including taking care of the kids. More people will cook meals at home rather than going out, strengthening families. More movies will be watched at home with the same effect. More meetings will be done online reducing travel and the time away from home. And because in times of crisis many turn to God, the faith of each might become stronger.
* * *
A friend once commented that the reasons humans have survived where living creatures have not is that we are designed to help others whether we know them or not. Animals do not. After 9/11 people around the U.S. stood in line for hours to donate blood. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Harvey, a group of private boat captains dubbed themselves “The Cajun Navy” and set out to rescue neighbors. Maybe God created us in this way and taught us to love our neighbor so his creation would survive.
When all is over with COVID-19 the important thing is that Americans should recognize the value of the improvements and make certain they are implemented forever.