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The Two Americas: How COVID-19 Is Affecting Americans Differently

by Richard A Reagan

America is increasingly becoming a nation split apart. Whether it’s Democrats vs. Republicans, coastal populations vs. flyover country, or urban elites vs. rural dwellers, Americans not only are growing further and further apart, they’re also less able to understand and tolerate other Americans who aren’t like them. We’re quickly becoming a land of two nations within the same country. COVID-19 is bringing that to the fore like never before, with the two Americas not only reacting differently to the crisis, but also being affected in different ways by the crisis.

On the one hand you have the urban populations who largely inhabit coastal metropolises like New York, LA, San Francisco, and Washington, DC. Populations in these urban areas are largely white-collar professionals who’ve chosen city and suburban life for the creature comforts that way of life offers. The COVID-19 lockdowns may have stopped their companies from going to the office, but their jobs are largely in the service sectors, so they’re able to work from home. As a result, they’re still drawing paychecks, with many enjoying their mini-holidays away from the office rat race.

These urban and suburban populations may find the lockdowns irritating only in so far as it means their favorite brunch spots and dinner hangouts are closed, although they may be offering takeout service. They may also find it irritating that music venues, museums, and other entertainment options are closed, but they can get by with binge-watching Netflix, exercising at home, or going for walks in their neighborhoods. By and large, they support the lockdowns and have no problem with the government trampling their freedoms if means they’re being kept “safe.”

On the other hand, you have rural populations who are spread out throughout the country in smaller cities and towns throughout the land. These populations are largely blue-collar, or engaged in production of goods. These are the people who build our cars, motorcycles, and tractors, who grow our food, and who produce the oil, natural gas, and minerals the economy needs to run.

This second America has been hard hit by the COVID-19 lockdowns, as the nature of their businesses largely precludes working from home. These Americans are the ones suffering from the lockdowns, unable to work and produce, and unsure whether they’re going to have jobs to go back to once this is all over. They’re the ones who have to rely on government bailouts, unemployment insurance, and other programs to keep them housed and fed while their businesses are forcibly shut down. They’re the ones who will suffer the most as a result of these lockdowns. And they’re the ones whom neither the professional class nor the politicians cares about or pays attention to.

But the American recovery is going to be dependent on that second America if the economy is ever to get back up and running. And the longer the lockdowns last, the longer it’s going to take that America to get back on its feet. As usual, the politicians and coastal elites who have no idea where the food, machinery, and consumer goods they take for granted come from have shot themselves in the foot by shutting everything down. Now the only question is how long it will take them to wake up and see just how foolish and destructive these lockdowns have been, so that we can finally get the economy up and moving again.

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