In fact, the coronavirus pandemic has exposed the shrinking faith of young Americans in their national identity.
But it is difficult to blame them. The government used to serve as a symbol of security and order in times of chaos; it was the reliable light that could guide our country through its greatest challenges, from the world wars to the terrorist attacks of September 11. Now, when we were sent off our campuses in an avalanche of lost experiences and unrecoverable goodbyes, turning on the television to watch the daily briefings in the federal and state press has failed to allay our uncertainty about the future.
Sure, our generation is not suffering from a national tragedy, but this deep lack of trust in American institutions is particularly high among young Americans today, and has probably been exacerbated by the ongoing pandemic. In short, young Americans are moving away, not toward, their country and its government in a time of universally experienced struggle.
Just look at the ongoing protests in reaction to police brutality towards an unarmed black man: Young Americans have taken to the streets, to the phones, and in November, they may even go to the polls for systemic change. These actions stem from anger at America's past and present, but they also reflect our generation's commitment to making solid changes for the future. We believe that we can improve things.
To our own generation: Don't give up on America yet! We love our country because we have the power to change it. And for now, while our own health may not be at the same level of risk as our older citizens, this is our responsibility to the generations that came before us. Continue to stay home whenever possible, help older neighbors as you can, and support essential workers wherever you are. To create the America we envision, we must continue to unite with one another and with our communities.
For our leaders: Our friends are losing pride in our country because this nation is not fulfilling what they think it can be. Our institutions must respond to this pandemic at the national level, which is why we are turning to you. We will not solve these challenges for our health and our economy without good faith, bipartisan cooperation that recognizes the scale of response that this crisis demands. We need a clear and coherent vision to give us renewed confidence in our government. Give us solutions aimed at solving the problem for all of America; Give us a united message that reminds us of what it means to be the United States.
We should all bear in mind that this is a crucial time for the feelings of many young Americans about the United States. How we respond to this crisis is important, not only for our nation's health and economy, but also for our belief in our country and in others.
This is not 2001, and this generation is not the same that led our nation until September 11. But we believe that young Americans are no less prepared and willing to help our country overcome this new crisis; they are no less prepared for the challenges of the present moment.