• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal


Is it time for our Spring fundraiser already? If you enjoy what we offer, and have the means, please consider donating. The sooner we reach our modest goal, the faster we can get back to business as (un)usual. Please, stay safe and we’ll see you down the road.

The Virus That May Bring us Together

A country paralyzed. A booming economy about to crash. Citizens afraid of an enemy they can’t see, hear or smell. The coronavirus has captured the world. Life as we have known it has stopped abruptly.

As of March 29, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported some 693,000 infection cases and nearly 30,000 deaths worldwide as a result of the pandemic for which there seems to be no end in sight any time soon.

In the United States, the number of infections is close to 150,000 with the death toll approaching 2,500. Faced with the grim prospect that more than 200,000 Americans could die even with aggressive action to slow the spread of the virus, the Trump Administration extended guidelines for social distancing, tele-working and refraining from non-essential travel for another month until April 30, 2020.

Ever since the outbreak of the virus in early December 2019, government leaders face anew the age-old “security versus freedom” dilemma, having to make decisions about the extent to which to curb individual rights, liberties and freedoms in order to ensure public safety and security. But it is not only the physical security of each citizen, our political leaders have to be concerned about. Sheltering in place and reducing social interactions can also bring the economy to a shrieking halt, causing unemployment to explode and jeopardizing the survival of many small businesses.

The nature and rapid spread of the virus demands a concerted, coordinated and collaborative response where governments, businesses and individual citizens pull together and cooperate to effectively control the greatest public health crisis in a century.

On March 27, along with one of my PhD students, I conducted a nationwide online survey of 445 Americans and asked them how much they trusted the government and their neighbors to “get through the current public health crisis.” Slightly more than half of respondents said they trusted the federal (52.6%) and their local (54.8%) government to address the crisis (24.7% and 18.4% distrust respectively). Given confusing and sometimes contradictory information provided by the White House, especially in the early days of the outbreak and the fact that specific implementation decisions are made at the local level, this result is not surprising, although one would hope for higher levels of trust in a crisis that can only be addressed at the government level. When it comes to trusting others, more than half of respondents (56.1%) said they trusted “their neighbors to do what’s necessary to get through the current public health crisis” (16.2% distrust).

These findings remind us that when levels of trust in each other and in those we elect to ensure our safety and security are much lower than what they ought to be, we face not just a health crisis but also a democratic and a human connection crisis.

Local and state governments and the federal government are leveraging different strategies to combat the spread and effect of the virus, from social distancing to complete community lock downs. What all these strategies have in common is that public trust and immediate responsiveness is necessary for them to succeed. In a crisis that unfolds rapidly, that affects everybody, that requires fast and broad cooperation and that only governments can address, the results of our survey raise concern.

Public trust cannot be built overnight. It is a long process where those we entrust with our safety and security need to show concern and compassion for the interests, hopes and fears of the many and not just the few that fund their elections.

As horrible as this crisis is, and we cannot yet accurately predict its magnitude, it ought to be a wake-up call for us to come together and use this shared experience to rebuild a social fabric that has been torn by partisanship and self-indulgence. In the end, the virus that keeps us apart may actually bring us together.

More articles by:

Dr. Volker Franke is a Professor of Conflict Management at Kennesaw State University and the Founder and CEO of TRENDS Global, a metro-Atlanta based non-profit organization dedicated to community empowerment and public service.

June 02, 2020
Zoltan Grossman
Deploying Federal Troops in a War at Home Would Make a Bad Situation Worse
Nicholas Buccola
Amy Cooper is Christian Cooper’s Lost, Younger Sister 
Manuel García, Jr.
Global Warming is Nuclear War
Patrick Cockburn
An Unavoidable Recognition of Failure: Trump’s Withdrawal From Afghanistan
John Feffer
Is It Time to Boycott the USA?
Kathy Kelly
Beating Swords to Plowshares
Lawrence Davidson
U.S. Urban Riots Revisited
Sam Pizzigati
“Failed State” Status Here We Come
Ron Jacobs
In Defense of Antifa
Cesar Chelala
Bolsonaro and Trump: Separated at Birth
George Wuerthner
The BLM’s License to Destroy Sagebrush Ecosystems
Danny Antonelli
The Absurdity of Hope
Binoy Kampmark
Sinister Flatulence: Trump Versus Twitter
John Stanton
How Much Violence and Destruction is Enough for Depraved American Leaders and Their Subjects?
Richard C. Gross
The Enemy Within
Thomas Knapp
Trump’s “Free Speech:” Doctrine: Never, Ever, Ever Mention He’s a Liar
John W. Whitehead
This Is Not a Revolution. It’s a Blueprint for Locking Down the Nation
June 01, 2020
Joshua Frank
It’s a Class War Now Too
Richard D. Wolff
Why the Neoliberal Agenda is a Failure at Fighting Coronavirus
Henry Giroux
Racial Domestic Terrorism and the Legacy of State Violence
Ron Jacobs
The Second Longest War in the United States
Kanishka Chowdhury
The Return of the “Outside Agitator”
Lee Hall
“You Loot; We Shoot”
Dave Lindorff
Eruptions of Rage
Jake Johnston
An Impending Crisis: COVID-19 in Haiti, Ongoing Instability, and the Dangers of Continued U.S. Deportations
Nick Pemberton
What is Capitalism?
Linda G. Ford
“Do Not Resuscitate”: My Experience with Hospice, Inc.
Medea Benjamin - Nicolas J. S. Davies
Who Are the Secret Puppet-Masters Behind Trump’s War on Iran?
Manuel García, Jr.
A Simple Model for Global Warming
Howard Lisnoff
Is the Pandemic Creating a Resurgence of Unionism? 
Frances Madeson
Federal Prisons Should Not be Death Chambers
Hayley Brown – Dean Baker
The Impact of Upward Redistribution on Social Security Solvency
Raúl Carrillo
We Need a Public Option for Banking
Kathy Kelly
Our Disaster: Why the United States Bears Responsibility for Yemen’s Humanitarian Crisis
Sonali Kolhatkar
An Open Letter to Joe Biden on Race
Scott Owen
On Sheep, Shepherds, Wolves and Other Political Creatures
John Kendall Hawkins
All Night Jazz All The Time
Weekend Edition
May 29, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Tim Wise
Protest, Uprisings, and Race War
Nick Pemberton
White Supremacy is the Virus; Police are the Vector
T.J. Coles
What’s NATO Up to These Days? Provoking Russia, Draining Healthcare Budgets and Protecting Its Own from COVID
Benjamin Dangl
Bibles at the Barricades: How the Right Seized Power in Bolivia
Kevin Alexander Gray - Jeffrey St. Clair - JoAnn Wypijewski
There is No Peace: an Incitement to Justice
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Few Good Sadists
Jeff Mackler
The Plague of Racist Cop Murders: Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd and the COVID-19 Pandemic
Joshua Frank
In Search of a Lost Socialism