...when the coronavirus era finally ends, there will be a Rip Van Winkle feeling — a sense of having been asleep and waking to normality, except that we will have time-traveled and the normality will resemble the year 2030 as it might have been without the virus, rather than just a simple turn to 2021 or 2022.
-Key cultural institutions will have been increasingly consolidated and concentrated, academia and journalism especially
-Institutional churches will have faced falling donations and shrunken attendance, accelerating decay that awaited them with the next decade’s worth of generational turnover.
-In politics, what was likely to be a slow-motion leftward shift in politics, as the less-married, less-religious, more ethnically diverse younger generation gained more power, will have been accelerated nationally by the catastrophes of the Trump administration, putting states in play for Democrats five or 10 years early.
-In corporate America, there may have been trends toward both consolidation and dispersal. The former, because even federal intervention probably won’t prevent small businesses from going under, the second because the remote-work experience, pandemic fears and possibly-rising crime rates may encourage more companies to disperse talent back into the heartland for the first time in two generations.
...only this last one seems like a hopeful sign that post-pandemic America might become less sclerotic, less decadent than the America of 2019. If one wanted to be especially optimistic, one could add that maybe — maybe — a corporate dispersal will reduce social stratification, and help create new intellectual, journalistic and even religious centers.