Trust and lack of it
There are definitely people who do not have trust in society in this moment of time, especially with how Covid is being handled and George Floyd’s death. Brooks defines social trust as “the confidence that other people will do what they ought to do most of the time”. With Covid especially, I don’t see this happening- something as simple as wearing a mask to protect each other has become a political issue. More importantly, our president has been downplaying the seriousness of Covid, yet when he tested positive, he was first in line to get the best treatment and drugs available. My grandfather tested positive for covid back in May, and was part of the clinical trial for Remdesivir, which is also one of the treatments Trump received. At the time, this treatment was only available to those with quite severe cases of covid. Besides how covid was handled, there are also plenty of problems, with police brutality and Black Lives Matter movement taking front-seat.
I would say whether we are at a pivot or decline really depends on how we handle everything going on in both our society and the world right now. There is quite a lot of mistrust toward our systems, with how Breonna Taylor’s case has dragged on and ended with a less than satisfactory result, with the hundreds of thousands of covid related deaths, and with our selection of president. Brooks writes, “for centuries, America was the greatest success on earth, a nation of steady progress, dazzling achievement and growing international power,” and I think it held true for a period of time, but shutdowns during the pandemic have really revealed issues that have been going under the radar. As Brooks had put it, “the rot in our structures spreads to a rot in ourselves”. I wouldn’t say we live in the “age of disappointment”, since we can see my generation is getting more involved with politics, hosting protests, advocating for what they believe in. We aren’t in the most ideal place, but what our generation has been doing does leave one more optimistic for the future.
Yuval Levin, a political analyst, argues that in high-trust eras, people have more of a “first- person- plural instinct to ask ‘What can we do?’ In a lower-trust era…there is a greater instinct to say, ‘They’re failing us.’ We see ourselves as outsiders to the systems”, which I agree with, and what we have seen during this pandemic supports it too. More high-trust societies have handled covid more quickly and neatly, whereas America took longer and had a more individualistic approach.