Well, 2020 is almost over and it’s been a helluva year to say the least. Of course, it was dominated by the Pandemic. 2020, however, also saw a recognition of racial injustice that has not been seen for many years. Sparked by the death of George Floyd, Americans saw and paid attention to police brutality. The Pandemic, which was first hailed as the great equalizer, highlighted better than any public policy paper, researchers, or think tank ever could, the stark differences in race and class in America. Today, I believe a lot more Americans have a better idea of the wealth gap and some of its causes, the desperate need for police and prison reform, how disparate our healthcare system really is, and just how much Black and Brown Americans actually face, daily.
But with that enlightening also came the flip side. The conspiracy theories, the unapologetic racists, and the reality that a lot of Americans live in a world so different from others. A world where literal facts are very different. At its most outrageous, the outcome of a presidential election was up for debate, despite overwhelming evidence. Our very democracy has been questioned. Yet, I have to believe we can come out of this and that reality will prevail because facts are in fact, facts.
2020 also saw the loss of so many people, the majority of which were not celebrities. Covid-19 touched every continent and has infected over 80 million people and killed over 1.7 million. It wreaked havoc on economies and whole industries. It hindered our school system and disrupted the education of our children. In America, it caused a history making stimulus package where the government literally gave money to Americans. Yet, people waited hours in food lines, not seen since the Great Depression.
On another note, the heroes of the Pandemic were healthcare workers and essential workers. They cared for the sick and catered to the well, while we all stayed at home. They were the last and sometimes only person with our loved ones when they died. They reused PPE and worked countless hours because there was no one else to do it. They worked in grocery stores and big box stores and delivered the millions of packages we ordered and returned. They kept this country going when most of it was on lock down.
As with everything, there is another side: selfish Americans. Some that chose not to believe, even while people were dying, that the virus was real. There were those still having parties and gatherings, going to pools and beaches, and not wearing masks. They even marched without masks to show they didn’t care about themselves or others.
But it wasn’t all bad. Americans were forced to slow down. People reconnected with family and friends in a more authentic way. A record number of Americans voted in the general election and we elected the first female, the first Black, and the first Asian Vice President of the United States. The scientific community worked together to create several vaccines in record time. Many people were able to transition to working from home, so less people lost their jobs than could have. Many companies made commitments to increase racial diversity in their upper ranks and boards of directors. My hope is that America will never be the same, in best ways possible.
So while 2020, was a year of stark differences and taking sides. For me? 2020 will always be the year I started The Culture Commentary. I thank you all for reading and hope you continue in 2021.
I’ll see you on the flip side.