2020 started with something that did not get much press. It was a recession that still has us in its grip. It actually started in late November of 2019. But it was not in many people’s sight, as just three days into 2020 President Donald Trump ordered a drone strike to kill top Iranian Commander Qasem Soleimani. Also all eyes were on the House of Representatives as it was preparing to impeach President Trump.
Also the heart breaking news of a helicopter crash that shook the sports world when Kobe Bryant, his thirteen-year-old daughter Gianna, the pilot and six other passengers died in the crash. Meanwhile the Amazon was on fire and the bushfire season in Australia took on epic proportions.
Then we caught word of a potentially deadly virus that was first identified in China. It began to spread first around countries in Asian then around the world. It would change life as we knew It. First an international shortage of toilet paper and disinfectants, then something that companies bucked for years became commonplace, working from home. At the same time the US was shedding jobs at an alarming rate which led to the US government passing a package worth 2 trillion dollars, a record amount of money to stimulate the American economy. Most of that package ended up going to big business and the wealthy. Then the House passed another bill that actually gave money to small businesses and to try to bring real relief to the majority of Americans. But that 3 trillion dollar package went nowhere in the Senate.
In May we hoped things were looking up as the US returned to launch astronauts from American soil. But that was soon overtaken by the news of the murder of George Floyd at the knee of Minneaplis police officer Derek Chauvin. A video showed Chauvin’s knee on Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes. That ignited a summer of civil unrest in America. With protest marches and calls for change as information of other African Americans murdered at the hands of the police, like Breonna Taylor in Kentucky. Ahmaud Arbery, a black man in Georgia was hunted down and shot to death, by white men, while he jogged. Peaceful marches and demonstrations sprung up across the nation, some were not so peaceful. It was discovered that white supremacists used social media to encourage the committing of disruptive and destructive acts at some of the protests.
The Mayor of Washington DC created Black Lives Matter Plaza, In Richmond Virginia, Civil War monuments came down. Then the nation lost its last great American Icon. 55 years after Bloody Sunday when he began his quest for equality, Congressman John Lewis took his final trip across the Edmund Pettus bridge.
Meanwhile, before they were contained, the summer and fall saw more than four million acres burned in California wildfires. Turning out to be the most extensive and expensive the state had ever seen. As summer set in so did the pandemic. With little to no leadership from the White house, states had to fend for themselves while a second wave of infections, hospitalizations and deaths bloomed. The White House pinned its hopes on a vaccine that would not come for another 6 months.
Ever present was the loss of jobs, as of August the US had only regained 42% of the 22 million jobs lost thus far in the pandemic. We learned a new term. Food insecure. As more and more Americans fell into poverty. According to the USDA more than 14 million people in the US are food insecure. With no end in sight, that number is expected to grow.
Spring and summer also saw concerts, cruises and Broadway shows cancelled, and the Summer Olympics too. When some sports resumed, the NBA was in a bubble, while other athletes played in front of small or non-existent Stadium crowds.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg lost her fight with pancreatic cancer. The President rushed to nominate and the Senate approved the appointment of Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the US Supreme Court. After all the votes were counted, in some cases again, and again, and again. Joe Biden was elected the Nation’s next President with a record breaking 80 million votes. It also broke other records, the election of Kamala Harris as the nation’s first female, and black, and South Asian vice-president.
The end of the year saw Trump trying to overturn the election. He and his legal team lost more than 50 court cases where they brought no evidence of their claims of mass voter fraud. When that did not work he tried to get states not to verify their elections and now all eyes will be on January 6th when vice-president Pence delivers the final blow when he certifies the vote in Congress.
Two vaccines have been approved to fight the Corna virus. Most vaccines take years to be approved. These were given emergency use authorization less than 11 months after the pandemic started. With the vaccine comes controversy, as the rich are attempting to jump the line and many wonder why Congressman and Representative are put ahead of the American people.
Yet, we end the year with more and more Americans getting infected with the virus and the most hospitalizations we have ever seen and more than 3,000 people dying a day. That is more than a 9/11 everyday. Record unemployment, Food insecurity, and more than 30 million Americans falling into poverty.
Some of the good things of 2020 include some of the things included in this article, from launching astronauts from American soil to Kamala Harris to the vaccine. But, we also have to include Angelina Friedman, she was born on October 18, 1918. Now at 102 years old she can say she got the Covid virus and survived it…twice. And finally, former ‘Reading Rainbow’ host LeVar Burton reads to COVID-19 quarantined people.
Let’s not put 2020 in the rearview mirror too quickly. Let’s learn the lessons and make it a better 2021. Remember to thank a nurse or doctor, your take-out driver and the other real important people in your life.Share: