A Millennial Rant about a Global Pandemic
by Jordan Rock
I’ve been with America through a lot of crises. Let me rephrase that. I’m a Millennial. I was born back in ’92, and I’ve seen America go through the ringer time and time again since then. I watched the World Trade Center fall, I watched my home get destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. I witnessed the bailout of Wall Street and the housing crisis, and I’ve watched the minimum wage stay depressingly static as everything in the world gets more and more expensive.
Folks in my generation got out into the adult world just in time for the economy to tank, taking most of our prospects of homeownership with them. For many of us, it is a foregone conclusion that unless we somehow experience one of those phony rags to riches stories, we’ll be paying absurdly high rent and student loans for the rest of our lives, and that’s just the way things are. This struggle has been woven into the fabric of our reality. Pinching and scrimping to get by as the American middle class fades away with the America dream is simply the state of things.
This is not data, this is simply the impression one gets from growing into this situation among members of my generation. A simple sentiment; the economy is bad, and everyone in a position of power over your life; from your landlord, to your boss to your state representative wants nothing more than to bleed you dry for everything you’re worth. Your only option is to push forward and try to build a better future with the crumbs left in your bank account after your monthly expenses.
That’s the vibe of my generation; this exhausted, pessimistic, bleary eyed state. No one wants to be a working stiff, but there are so many barriers for entry into anything resembling a stable living and working situation that many just suck it up and do what they have to do. Plans for the future become survival tactics instead of aspirations. Great expectations give way to communal efforts to fight against the poverty that we’re being ground into.
And I know that sounds depressing, because it Is, but let me tell you, even with all the pessimistic expectations I could muster, I nor anyone else I know could have been ready for the Covid-19 pandemic. And, judging by the state of the country, the rest of America wasn’t ready either.
There’s a lot of factors to consider when talking about the times we’re living in and how we got here, but right now I just want to focus on how it feels to be an adult pushing 30 during a viral outbreak.
No matter how much garbage has been dumped on the American populace in the last couple of decades, there was always the promise that things would eventually settle into the grinding status quo of modern America.
Not this time. There is nothing normal about this situation. Because we live in the information age, we have the astounding luxury of glimpsing how the rest of the world is dealing with the pandemic.
At the time of writing this, the death toll from corona virus cases in the United States sits at 76,938. That dwarfs the next highest death count from Spain, which is 26,070.
To put it simply, no developed nation has a higher death toll than the United States. Not a single one.
I don’t want to launch into some alarmist, apocalyptic screed about these numbers. The world will defeat this virus. I truly believe that. It’s only matter of time. What bothers me is that I’m not surprised at how badly the United States is handling this nightmare, nor is everyone I’ve asked. The American government’s lack of responsibility for its people in this crisis borders on satire. That is to say, this would all be funny if it weren’t so sad.
Over the course of the next few articles, I’m going to talk about how I think we got here, and try to quantify what it feels like to live in the America of 2020. Check back in a week as I stare into the horrifying and hilarious state of contemporary American life during the corona virus pandemic.