2020, the year that won't end - a blog, in 1000 Words or Less
Usually I spend an hour or two at the end of December watching Year in Review programs. I get a kick out of them, especially when the review gets back to January and February and I realize most things that dominated the headlines have disappeared into the long-ago-past, even though that time period was only eleven or twelve months ago. Think about it…January 2020, everybody was talking about Trump’s impeachment, Australian bush fires and the Tiger King. There were whispers about a new, unknown flu-like virus coming out of China.
By mid-February Covid was a real thing and the world had changed in ways we could never have imagined. The virus has dominated our collective consciousness ever since. Now a person who isn’t wearing a face covering is seen as an oddity, we’re using phrases that never existed before, Zoom meetings are common place, Amazon stock is stratospheric…the list of changes is long.
A year ago I spent New Year’s Eve with long-time friends. I had hoped we could do that again this year. Instead, I haven’t seen them in months and don’t know when I will again. It’s worse for my wife, whose family lives in the east. She has no clue when she’ll be able to visit. I know everybody has a similar story; we’re all counting days until those personal connections are possible again.
Last spring countries around the world locked down in an effort to “flatten the curve”, which meant containing Covid so that health care systems wouldn’t be overwhelmed. As we all know, health care systems weren’t overwhelmed, the virus was neither eradicated nor contained and we gained…well...catastrophic social and economic damage.
In the fall, the big fear was the return to school. After an immense amount of work developing protocols and strategies by a huge number of professionals, children entered the classrooms. The super-spreader event the media was so breathlessly awaiting didn't happen. The media had to refocus their attention and find different fears to stoke, which included the potential fallout from Thanksgiving celebrations and discussions about cancelling Christmas.
That was 2020 in review. Where are we now?
We’re in the midst of the second wave. In response, politicians who all appear as intelligent and imaginative as a dogs trying to catch their tails (but without the friendly personalities), are instituting more lockdowns while expecting different results from those that occurred in the spring.
International media has called Canada's vaccine rollout, "Uneven, bumpy and sluggish," and, "A big political blunder."
People are furloughed,
business are failing,
twenty percent of mortgages are at a higher risk of defaulting,
personal and national debt is rising to incomprehensible levels,
and, testing in Canada is less than half the rate of the USA, a country we enjoy laughing at for their abysmal Covid response. Follow the link below for a (short) article detailing the need to obtain a negative Covid test AND isolate for fourteen days, and how this ill-considered policy hurts Canada without a single positive benefit.
Finally, in a determined effort to shake salt on our bleeding morale, our hypocritical Prime Minister says without a hint of shame or irony, “Keep following the rules,” and, “…now is not the time to vacation abroad.” I guess every rule has an exception. Apparently, that’s the one Canadian politicians aren’t obligated to follow.
Going forward, I’ve never felt more pessimistic about our livelihoods, the state of the world or Canada’s future. Every step we take into 2021 moves us backward, a little further into past full of chaos and bad decisions. I’m genuinely afraid of the position in which Justin has positioned the country.
Government’s job is to look after its citizens. In 2020, the man-child had to spend to accomplish that mandate. If the majority of money he spent was for Covid relief, maybe (possibly) we’d have to accept the debt he amassed. Unfortunately, he spent without explanation, accountability and at first glance, rationale. Looking closer, a blind person can see most of his choices were made in an effort to forward his woke agenda. He claims he won’t raise taxes to cover the bill but he’s also promised to tax big tech companies, somehow believing Amazon Prime won’t pass their costs onto their customers. Obfuscation and deceit are the only things the man does well.
Canada is already near the top of the highest taxed industrialized countries. It’s going to get worse. It has to. Interest rates are low today but the debt still has to be serviced, and what happens when the rates go up? The standard of living drops. There's no other choice. If you have children, apologize to them now on the Liberal government’s behalf; your grandchildren will be paying off 1.5 trillion dollars of debt for the rest of their lives.
Anyway, I might be getting off track…
The new year was supposed to usher in positive change. Instead, it appears as though 2020 will last sixteen or eighteen months; one miserable year has bled into the next. When we do turn the proverbial corner, some people might be tempted to say, “It wasn’t that bad.” If I hear those kinds of rose-colored statements, I plan on correcting the individual who makes them. Let's not sugar coat 2020. No amount of hindsight will improve a year that just won't end. That said, comparatively speaking, we aren’t living in hardship. Frustration, stress and anger, yes. But not hardship...
The Second World War lasted six years.
The Spanish flu wiped out an estimated 500 million people.
5 million Syrians have become refugees during their ten-year civil war.
Way back in grade school, I “interviewed” a family friend who lived through the Great Depression. I don’t remember the details but I do remember the gist: day to day life was a struggle. A person couldn’t take the basics—food, clothing and shelter—for granted. He admitted it wasn't all bad. There were bright moments, usually involving family and friends and figuring out how to get by from one day to the next but he was unambiguous when he said they were a lousy four years.
With luck, we’ll be on the right side of the Covid curve inside two years. In the meantime, just as there were in the thirties, we have our own bright moments.
Trump's precedency finally ended: individuals around the world sighed with relief.
Christmas wasn’t cancelled: people created new holiday traditions.
We found things to laugh about: private liquor stores offered delivery services.
New shopping options became common-place: thanks to curb-side pickup, I’ll never walk through the doors of a big box store again.
Maybe most importantly, everyone learned a valuable lesson: if planning to barbeque a bat for supper, it’s an excellent idea to use a meat thermometer and ensure an internal temperature of at least 165F before consuming. And, when I say, “…if planning to barbeque a bat…” I mean, never-fucking-ever barbeque a bat for supper.
Covid, the incompetence of politicians who seem to be actively working against a recovery, the combative state of the world, Canada’s future…they’re are all enormous, big-picture problems. They exist now and will continue to exist for years to come. So, keep the bright moments in mind. They help when the big-picture becomes overwhelming and hiding under the covers feels like a viable option. They’ll be the things we remember and talk about when we do our next Year in Review.
I realize this post is similar in tone and message to the last post I wrote in 2020. I ran out of space back then, in the long-ago-past.