1) The COVID-19 pandemic has caused several variations of impacts to individualism and federalism in our country. America is handling the worldwide Coronavirus as one of the worst countries, as we are only ahead of five (Ollove). Those countries include Indonesia, Turkey, Mexico, Iran, and China (Ollove). America is a country built on federalism and individualism. We like to make the rules for our own government, and have equality throughout the states. After all, they all are different with many different governments and laws. This mindset, however, has not served us justice within the pandemic. The countries that are handling the pandemic the best are doing it through a national level, as we are doing it through a federal level with personal individualism. As America was founded (as stated in the YouTube video: Constitution Hall Pass) on a government for the people to create their own individual needs this becomes a trending issue for COVID-19. Individualism has conceived the process of having a choice whether to worry about ‘we’ or ‘I’ during these hard times. To get over the pandemic America needs to focus on ‘we’ (Ollove). Vargas and Sanchez stated in their article that many people said it is their right whether to choose to follow the mask mandate or not and in some states they are correct. However, what does this mean concerning the lives of others? Well, what it means is that over 160k humans will die (Ollove). Individualism concerns mostly the wearing of masks according to Vargas and Sanchez; they surveyed the reasons most people do not wear masks most being it is uncomfortable, it is their right as an American not to wear a mask, they do not want to look like criminals, there are no masks available, and my personal favorite is the theory that coronavirus is not real. Federalism is a whole other ball game when it relates to the U.S.A COVID-19 pandemic. Our state government’s powers have expanded in creating their own laws as to what they think is right for their people, of course, due to the crisis (Vargas & Sanchez). It has changed the voting regulations and administration as well as taking people’s lives making them another statistic in the madness of it all. We have over 8,000 different jurisdictions in America administering the elections all with different ways of handling the 2020 election. Most postponed elections or gave states’ mail-in and absentee voting policies (Ollove). This generates voters the issue of not knowing who to blame when things go wrong, or who to praise when they go well.
Ollove talks about how national strategies had a higher success rate of containing the virus as to America that handles it through a federalist level. As federal laws do bubble up to become national level laws, it takes ample time which we do not have in the pandemic and is hard when every federal level has different thoughts on how to handle the issue. Federalism and individualism in America has caused the pandemic to worsen at a severely high rate.
2) Using the first article in comparison to what we have covered so far in the course, it shows that individualism can directly influence one’s actions. Wearing a mask may not be a political thing but some individualists have turned it into that. in the article it mentions that “40% of Americans who do not wear a mask say this is because it is ‘their right as an American to not wear a mask’” (Vargas and Sanchez). This is a very individualistic approach to the debate on masks. Individualists can take the message from the government and think that it may be their right to not have to wear one as the government should not be allowed to interfere with their personal life or how they should interact with others. The individualist’s ideals could say in this case that the federal government should not be making policy like a mask mandate that requires everyone to wear them at all. A more government focused or federalist focused point of view to this issue would be that it is ok the government is stepping in and making this policy. It may affect social aspects of life but it is for the better health and safety of everyone.
Now, looking at the second article, it mentions the role the government is playing in the response to COVID-19 as a whole. This article is great at showing how the federalist point of view going into this response mode is for the betterment of the people. One quote “The Framers anticipated that federalism would increase accountability and further the general welfare of American citizens” (Selin) highlights that from a federalist point of view the government should be acting in a way that is helping protect the citizens. This is a very federalism based approach as the government, including the state level, should step in and make policy regulating life, and ways people interact to promote the general welfare of the people. This article also mentions the problems that this can bring such as states not fully agreeing with the federal policy, and the potential of non elected parties such as the FDA stepping in. When the FDA steps in a pushes a vaccine that could have potential worse side affects than the virus itself, people could blame the president, or the president could blame the FDA and the arguments could be never ending. These situations from the individualistic approach could be avoided altogether theoretically.
In the final article, a lot of focus is put on the fact that the US did not respond as well as other countries have. The fact that this issue became political at all made the states divided on the issue of public health and safety. As the government put policies into place the people, including government officials, made this a political issue. The competing view points of individualism and federalism left this country behind others whose community ideals aligned based off of science. To this day it is an issue that is still being debated in the US while many other countries have lifted a lot of their restrictions. I think last few sentences of the article sum it up well. “‘There’s an acceptance of actions to keep my community safe above any ill-informed personal-freedom approach,’ Andrus said. That attitude is not widely accepted in the United States, Andrus said, and the rest of the world is noticing.” (Ollove). These words show that compared to other countries, we did not take well to the virus impacting us. The different view points affected our behavior and have made this more of a political debate than a national response and action.