Hindsight is "2020"
There will be many articles, essays, and columns written about the year we have had as it comes to an end. Twenty-twenty, more accurately the year two thousand twenty, was one which began with the promise of vision. It sounded like you got an eye exam and heard results you liked. It was an election year, one that was sure to be one for the ages as we were contemplating whether the majority of American voters were happy with a president who broke all the norms or whether we wanted to have our country led by a more conventional leader.
Twenty-twenty ended up being so much more. Yes, in this presidential election year there was a contest among democratic party contenders for the office, there were promises and posturing as there usually is but, there was so much more this year of vision would share with the world.
As we begin to look back on this year, I am reminded of the saying that hindsight is 20/20.
We all remember the cruise ship kept offshore because of a novel coronavirus. We then saw this virus become a pandemic, wreak havoc with international health and health care, shut down economies, devastate families due to the loss of loved ones and incomes, and expose some of the weaknesses that our American partisanship caused. Failures to acknowledge, admit, act, and frankly to care are good descriptions of the initial response from our leader. Concern about the political ramifications of appropriate action clouded judgment. Mixed messages, disagreements, and outright deception all occurred, and we will never be the same as the result.
Then Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Rashard Brooks were all murdered by police. The killing of black people by law enforcement officers was not new, but the confluence of these killings and the massive multiracial response was. Protests, demonstrations, and conversations began to happen nationwide and didn’t just emphasize the need to address police violence but included conversations about economic justice, social justice, and racial equity. Even though more people are engaged in these conversations, all the responses were not positive as neo-Nazis, white supremacists, right-wingers made their presence felt as well.
Then, finally, came November 3rd and although it took the better part of a week for the election results to be known, it became obvious that there would be a change in the white house. It is in the aftermath of the election that 2020 continues to follow its unique path. It is now the year that democracy was threatened like never before. Now we cannot separate 2020 from 2016, the year America elected Trump because that election was clearly a watershed moment. Trump’s history, background, and personality seemed to make him unlikely to win his party’s nomination much less the general election, but he did. His tenure as president can be described as unconventional, corrupt, even dangerous. Anyone who paid attention to his presidency, or the poles, would have expected his reelection to be unlikely.
Since the results have been known, we have seen that many people simply do not care whether democracy survives as long as they get their way, as long as their party wins. Sadly, many people who know better are afraid to speak up. Afraid of a defeated loudmouth. Afraid of a bully, afraid of his Twitter finger. Over the past six weeks, some of 2020’s last, we have seen Americans, and therefore America act as we have never seen it act before. Overt action to overturn an election by the president, as well as other elected officials from the Republican party, is about as un-American as one could imagine. What we are seeing with our own eyes, hearing with our own ears opposes the standards, values, goals, and customs of this country.
As we begin to look back on this year, I am reminded of the saying that hindsight is 20/20. I believe that and as I look back, I am concerned that as a nation during this year we lost our vision, lost our way, sacrificed our values, and put democracy at risk.