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Help an European understand America: Divisionism and COVID

Paulo Laureano
Paulo Laureano Opinion

"A somewhat confused Portuguese quest to better understand a great nation"


My connection to America

I have not visited America since 2008. However, I did de coast-to-coast, followed route 66, and learned a little about cosmopolitan and rural America. Everyone I met was amicable, and my impressions of Americans could not be better. Although I cannot say I fully grasp the American way of life and culture, there is no way to achieve that mark in just three weeks; I like what I have seen.

European culture is very different in many ways, so it is not easy to understand some of the things going on in your country. So please indulge me, and I would appreciate either some responses or links to articles that help me on my quest to understand you as a people better.

I have a lot more questions to ask you about America, so I am planning to write a few more articles on the subject. I will follow anyone on media that writ


Social networks impact and corporate media

We have also fallen prey to social networks divisionism and confirmation bias bubbles. Unfortunately, Europe has also seen its fair share of both. The symptoms might not be the same, but they are here. They are real.

I wrote an article on Medium about it, if you are interested:

Something somewhat different in Europe is traditional corporate media. It is less extreme and not as politically biased. While some stations are more right-wing or left-wing leaning, overall, it is very different from what I see on Fox News and MSNBC or CNN. Also, while I can see some bad journalism, the reporting seems way more balanced and truthful here.

I have no idea how anyone seeing one of those channels can grasp reality and distinguish facts from fiction on that side of the ocean. While it explains a lot, you are all Americans. How can’t you see thru it? I see the gentle and kind people I met on my travels filled with anger and suspicion for each other.

I know you had a very polarising president, that has done nothing to bring people together, and America was hit hard by the pandemic. But, still, while you have a history of rising to the occasion when hit by an external force, and COVID certainly classifies as such, you seem more divided than ever.


How is politicizing a disease an option?

I live in Portugal, the closest country to you in western Europe. According to we have over 90% of the population vaccinated, while America lags slightly over 70%.

While I somewhat understand vaccine hesitancy, that train has long departed the station. There are millions of vaccinated people with a low number of cases of side effects. As far as I can see, the most significant side-effect is people dying less of COVID.

I am making a significant effort not to be patronizing. Still, I see many people with absolutely no knowledge of medicine weighing on whether science is right or wrong. I am no scientist or medical doctor, so I have to follow their advice. I am in no position to judge if they are right or wrong. It seems illogical for someone entirely ignorant on those matters to question something they are not at all equipped to evaluate.

Do you guide your doctors when you enter an ER? Do you self-diagnostic and treat yourself with other diseases?

It’s a freaking Virus. It does not care at all about politics. All you are is a nice-looking host for them to multiply in. Please protect yourself and the people you love. You cannot fight a virus with rhetoric and stubbornness. Choose to live. Choose to have those you love live thru these challenging times.



This article was published on Medium (I am a subscriber and highly recommend it).



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