SOCIETY

18 Months In: Can America Meet the Future?

Searching for a rapid Covid test in New York City made me very nervous

Julio Vincent Gambuto
GEN
Published in
6 min readSep 21, 2021

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Photo source: Travel Daily

When Joe Biden returned from his first international trip in June, he reassured America that he had reassured our allies that America was “back.” Having campaigned for Biden and voted for him, I wanted to believe — in my bones — that the Trump years were just a fever-dream of an anomaly and that with Joe and Kamala in the White House we had righted the ship. Of course, what followed this summer was our disastrous exit from Afghanistan. Set up for failure by the former guy, Biden’s extraction of our interests and people from Kabul was not, well, reassuring.

One could easily make the argument that there was such a clusterfuck of a mess left in the Oval Office, that anything short of mayhem, crashing markets, or nuclear or civil war is a miracle, especially after the events of January 6. But that would be letting the Biden administration off the hook. I believe in unity. I believe in patience. But I do not believe in going easy on leaders we trust to do the right thing — and to do it expeditiously. If democracy is to persist, it must function well, and in a timely manner, for the American people. There is ample evidence to suggest that it is not doing so.

It has been 18 months — a year and a half — since the first lockdown. Yes, the first ten months were overseen by the wannabe fuhrer, but the last eight have been overseen by our new captain. And our dysfunction is palpable in our homes, streets, checkbooks, online, and most definitely in our hearts: millions have fallen off the unemployment cliff, evictions are about to soar, we continue to see record numbers of Covid cases, storefronts are empty, major cities are tumble weeds, transformative reforms are being blocked by a minority of our representatives (like, 2) while we play nice, we have yet another crisis at our border, and moms and dads across the country are in agony deciding if their children should go to school, wear a mask, or get vaccinated.

On top of it all: where are the rapid tests?

I, for one, spent all morning Friday searching downtown New York City for one. I had an in-person meeting planned with a colleague. It was to be his first…

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Julio Vincent Gambuto
GEN
Writer for

Author + Moviemaker // Happiness in a fucked-up modern world // New book from Avid Reader Press (Simon & Schuster) // Audie Finalist // SXSW // juliovincent.com