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New York Times Columnist Says Coronavirus is ‘Killing Off Myth We Are Greatest Country on Earth’

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New York Times contributing opinion writer and author Viet Thanh Nguyen claimed in a column on Friday that the coronavirus “is killing off the myth that we are the greatest country on earth.”

In a column titled, “The Ideas That Won’t Survive the Coronavirus,” Nguyen argued, “We were not as healthy as we thought we were. The biological virus afflicting individuals is also a social virus. Its symptoms — inequality, callousness, selfishness and a profit motive that undervalues human life and overvalues commodities — were for too long masked by the hearty good cheer of American exceptionalism, the ruddiness of someone a few steps away from a heart attack.”

“If the illusion of invincibility is shredded for any patient who survives a near-fatal experience, then what might die after Covid-19 is the myth that we are the best country on earth, a belief common even among the poor, the marginal, the precariat, who must believe in their own Americanness if in nothing else,” he posited.

After claiming that the coronavirus crisis has led to the “least vulnerable” being protected by the government as others suffer, Nguyen concluded, “Americans will eventually emerge from isolation and take stock of the fallen, both the people and the ideas that did not make it through the crisis. And then we will have to decide which story will let the survivors truly live.”

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