2020 The Year in Review

Stata Center, MIT

It was one of the worst years of my life – tragic, violent, full of injustice, incompetence and sheer insanity. And though I’d like to forget, turn over a new leaf and welcome a new year, 2020 will forever be remembered as the year of the pandemic, a year in which nearly 2 million worldwide died from COVID-19, close to 350,000 in the U.S. alone. And it didn’t have to be this bad.

It was the year Trump’s incompetence became deadly, a president who knew of the dangers of the virus and downplayed it, telling the states to figure it out on their own while encouraging them to open up and stay open, apparently, as evidence shows, in favor of a herd immunity theory that if it had not been exposed and debunked upwards of a million Americans could have died. Trump himself never wore a mask or promoted social distancing at any of his meetings or rallies. It wasn’t until he literally came down with the virus that he finally wore a mask and then when released from the hospital, made a public display of ripping it off his face after climbing the White House steps, noticeably gasping for air.

It was the year in which many whites acknowledged their own white privilege and began to understand that racism is not just the action of a few bad actors but that it is institutionalized, and part of the fabric of the country from its beginnings. Tragically, it was another year in which police unnecessarily used deadly force against black men and women. George Floyd, Breona Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Rayshard Brooks, Daniel Prude, Walter Wallace. Black Lives Matter.

And while there were so many other horrible events and developments that defined 2020: the California wildfires; a death on the Supreme Court with a rushed and out of touch replacement, growing numbers of emboldened white supremacist groups and hate crimes; and the GOP’s full embrace of Trump and his anti-democratic actions that have enabled relentless attempts to undermine the the 2020 election results, there have also been some silver linings.

Donald J. Trump, the worst president in the history of this country, lost the 2020 elections, and will not be back for a second term. The nation will soon not have to pay attention to the gas-lighter in chief who wishes nothing more than to stay relevant. No, the man who whines that they didn’t give him Time person of the year; the man who pretends that he actually got the Nobel peace prize when he didn’t (he’s full of noble gas), will lose his tweeter followers, try to grow a media empire and fail just like he failed in all his other ventures. He may spend a good part of post presidential life in court, raising money from various grifts to pay his legal fees. But one thing is certain, that after this year and the 3 horrific years that came before, Donald Trump will be gone. In the words of Robert Hunter, who wrote the lyrics for the Grateful Dead song “He’s Gone” (1972), “Like a steam locomotive/rolling down the track/He’s gone/He’s gone/and nothing’s gonna bring him back.”

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