The year 2020 for me is not about what happened, it’s about what did not happen. And there is a lot of what did not happen. Warning: I get a little political at the end of this article.
And let’s not focus on the physical events that happened, because that is just too easy. There is much, much more going on in 2020 than the news that impacted us all. We all know things like there was a pandemic, Trump lost an election, protests caused New Yorker friends of mine to leave the city indefinitely, the stock market crashed and then rebounded. And there were some bright spots like 2 peace treaties in the middle east with Israel.
But what’s more interesting are some of the subtle things that happened to our society which heralded in a new era that may never be the same. We were forced to change our ways and join the future in many ways.
- My kids never went back to physical classes in school.
They simply sat next to my home office and went online. They survived. They figured it out, for the most part. It was difficult at times and it definitely had it’s up and downs. But the kids really liked being at home for most of the day. The most interesting part of this happened when we needed to leave our home during a termite tenting for 3 days. We found a local hotel room with chairs and a suite and they spent 2 full days at the hotel sitting in their virtual classes. We all adapted and got through this. It was not that bad in the end.
- We learned to get the old neighborhood together on Zoom.
If it weren’t for the pandemic, we would not have organized about 20 people from across the country from my elementary school onto a Zoom call. This was fascinating, because it never would have happened if we did not have the pandemic. But we all appreciated it and saw some friends of ours we probably would never have seen or not in years. We all got retrained to understand that the world at home is the same world out there. There are not physical borders to communicating with friends. We just need to put in time to organize things virtually. Most of all, we got people over 65 to get on Zoom and get a webcam!
- We learned to always have our masks ready and to make sure we social distance.
Every time I went to the store I was forced to think about the needs of others and be careful in actions I took. How many of us had to run back to our cars to get our mask we forgot. I saw others go through it. We were forced to all conform to these rules.
- We learned that our actions or inactions impact others.
One thing I believe we learned this year is libertarianism is for wild animals and not humans. We learned the concept that everybody is on their own does not work. You can believe all that Ayn Rand BS about everybody needs to do their own thing, but in the end we are a society of people that need to work together when there is a crisis. When the top medical people say to wear a mask, they mean it. I understand that there are people who can’t for medical reasons. That’s fine. But for those who can wear a mask without fainting, it was and is important in the battle to control Covid. In 2020 libertarianism died a death of stupidity. And some actually died.
- We learned that almost anybody can be brainwashed with repeating messages and consistency.
Some of my good friends who claim that I am the brainwashed person have tried to explain to me why their favorite TV personalities, which I will not mention, are not lying or making shit up when they obviously are. We have come to point where if you watch a series of TV “news formatted” shows you may actually start saying the sky is purple. Hear it often enough and you may actually believe it. We call this “The Big Lie” and Nazism and Stalinism proved it works. My friends who think I am brainwashed think I am brainwashed because I watch everything, read everything, pay attention to everything. You know, getting a sense of all the channels and points of views is being brainwashed! Right on? The point is statements like “It can never happen here?” or that we can not end up with a fascist government were removed from my mind this year. The US system of government now just seems vulnerable and we need to strengthen it this year, now, before a real Edi Amin (not a Trump) gets in charge. Presidential power needs to be reduced and checks and balances need to be reinforced. The system survived, but we have cracks in the system.
- We learned that normalcy is a blessing.
We live in a country that has so many amazingly nice and good things going on, that it took a pandemic for us to look around and count our blessings. We can see around the world, disasters, horrible governments, horrible situations. We don’t live in one. We live in a bit of a bubble, especially where I live in Boca Raton, Florida. It’s not paradise, but it is very livable. When people make horrible statements about our perfect little world, making outrageous claims that make no sense, they should get a grip. We just want to get back to a normal life and normalcy in general.
- Accusations of socialism and communism are stupid.
I have heard the words “socialists, communists” thrown about that make absolutely no sense at all in 2020. There is no such thing here and it is not about to arrive here. But it is used as a hammer to bang away politically. You have to understand who this message benefits. It benefits big corporations who have a lot to lose and super wealthy who have a lot to lose as well. What most Americans across the board want is health care which is reasonably priced and available to everyone. Whether it is a new type of competition or public options, we need change to a system that is affordable. The pandemic opened up our eyes. Just think about the hospital bills on 340,000 who died from Covid this year. And there probably were 5M people who were hospitalized. At $100k per person in the hospital, we are talking about (And I am trying to do the math: 5,000,000 x $100,000 = 500,000,000,000) Is it possible we had $500 Trillion in medical bills? How many of these will not be paid? For those over 65 on Medicare, they probably reduced the bill, but if a young person went to the hospital with serious Covid, and they did not have insurance, WTF? If we can’t get our act together in the wealthiest country in the world to offer ordinary healthcare for everyone, then something is wrong with us.
And for those of you who think “Trump is the greatest, bestest president who every lived”, the real reason he loses the election in this year, 2020 is there is no way Trump could handle the oncoming medical disaster fallout and no way the Republicans can organize themselves in a way to manage our medical needs. They were the wrong party at the wrong time and they needed to go. The pandemic is that crystal clear reason. Am I shocked that so many did vote for Trump? I get it. They liked some of things he did. But instead of focusing on doing government, Trump’s focus has been on controlling the message of government. Instead of having a very severe 3 week lockdown in Feb, March of 2020, the White House opted to make fun of Covid-19 and message it was not a big deal. They eventually changed their tune, but not before killing a few people with big rallies that made no sense and become super spreader events. They may refute everything I am saying. They change the conversation every time people talk about facts, but 350,000 dead says it all. 2020 was a year of Schlock and Awe as we learned what not to do during a pandemic!