After a difficult 2020, let's move forward in the new year
We’ve come to the end of 2020.
The year has already become a punchline, a kind of all-purpose retort to any kind of bad news. “That’s 2020,” we groan as we trudge forward.
But amid all the challenges, through all the trials and tribulations, there have been sparks of inspiration and hope. True, they’ve all been linked in some way to the bad stuff. But as the saying goes: “That’s 2020 for you.”
The COVID-19 pandemic upended our year. We could spend sentence after sentence writing about those who have been taken from us too soon. We could spend paragraphs describing the shortcomings in our public health system.
And yet, the pandemic showed that American innovation is alive and well. We saw two incredibly effective vaccines emerge in record time. That’s a scientific breakthrough of epic proportions. Meanwhile our public health officials and medical personnel pushed themselves to the limit. We are all so lucky to have them.
An unfortunate side effect of the pandemic was that many of us spent a lot more time at home than we expected. Schools were closed. Access to the usual comforts of bars and restaurants, of leisurely shopping trips, was curtailed. And while it resumed to some extent over the summer, many of us are still being careful about venturing out.
What that meant, however, was that many of us had the chance to bond with our families like never before. We were in the same physical space, day after day. Sometimes, yes, that proved a bit frustrating. But it could often serve as an unexpected joy and source of great solace.
Finally, of course, we had a presidential election this year. As President Trump winds up his term with conspiracy mongering, it can be difficult to imagine that any good came from that exercise.
And yet think of it this way: Millions upon millions of Americans showed up to vote. They cast their ballots, and the system worked. Dedicated professionals did their jobs. And when spurious allegations arose, the courts showed them for what they were. Nonsense. In state after state, Republican officials stood up for the rule of law.
In this new year, we will have a new president. Vaccines will make their way to the vast majority of Americans. The struggles of 2020 will, eventually, become a memory. Our human connections will continue to grow and deepen, as we stride confidently into a better future.
And let’s face it: After this year, the bar will be set pretty low.