The Best Highlights of 2020
While I think most folks would agree that 2020 was an utter nightmare of a year, heck even Netflix released a mockumentary about it called Death to 2020 which is cathartic as it is entertaining, not everything that happened over the course of said year was terrible. Like any year it had its ups and downs. Granted, most of the events were definite downers, but it would be a great disservice to history to only focus on the negatives. 2020 had some highlights! Let’s try and remember them, shall we?
Donald Trump Was Impeached
No matter what side of the political aisle you sit on, surely everyone can agree that Donald Trump is the worst president in American history. Right? Ha. Just kidding. But really. He is.
That’s why it was such a pleasure and a joy to watch him get impeached in the early days of 2020. The conman finally got some much needed consequences of his horrible horrible actions from the past three years. Even if the Senate decided to shuck any final remnants of moral fiber or soul by acquitting the criminal, the fact remains forever enshrined in history that Donald Trump is now only one of three presidents to ever be impeached.
Let this fact stand as a reminder that even as much of the country has proven itself to be insanely devoted to a cult of personality, there are at least some of us who continue to fight for what is right and true.
2020 Was a Great Year for Art
It would seem that isolation sparks creativity for some, especially for musicians. 2020 was a banner year for new music releases. It saw great albums come out practically every month. With brilliant new records from the likes of Fiona Apple, Jason Isbell, The Strokes, Sturgill Simpson, and many others, there was no shortage of great music to keep you occupied. Heck, Taylor Swift released not one, but TWO surprise albums, in which she collaborated with Justin Vernon from Bon Iver and Aaron Dessner/Matt Berninger of The National. Both of these albums are easily the best records of her career, carving a new path for her musically that shows a lot of promise and potential.
Besides music, 2020 also brought with it a great surplus of new motion picture entertainment. Even though the movie theater business found itself struggling to survive, streaming services proved more than willing to fill in the gaps for audiences. This year had people obsessing over the brilliance of Netflix series such as The Queen’s Gambit, a surprisingly compelling story that brought the niche topic of chess back to the forefront of American culture. There was also the second season of The Mandalorian to keep Star Wars fans happy, and obsessing over the return of favorite characters such as Boba Fett and Luke Skywalker. There was direct to stream movie releases such as Onward and Soul from Pixar, and Wonder Woman 1984 coming to HBO Max.
And who would have wanted to miss the final seasons of some of the best shows to ever air on television, Schitt’s Creek: the astounding sitcom from Dan Levy and iconic duo Eugene Levy and Catherine O’hara, and Vikings: the historical saga of the Ragnar Lothbrok family. 2020 also was the year everyone remembered they loved The Karate Kid, with Netflix taking on the series Cobra Kai, and driving it to an extreme level of popularity.
In the realm of literature, there was the scandalous novel release of American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins to start off the year. It also saw the release of the new Stephen King collection If It Bleeds, and several notable memoirs. Louise Gluck won the Nobel Prize for literature for her poetry, a much deserved honor to an under-appreciated poet.
Heck, 2020 even had me releasing a book of poetry and writing more than I have in years, including some new music.
The Unity of Perseverance
While the pandemic ravaged much of the world and created much in the way of sadness and loss, not to mention isolation, it also provided a springboard from which humanity proved its boundless resolve and unity in the face of calamity. The enduring hopefulness of the human race was proven time and time again through acts of courage and togetherness, as the world bound itself together in the singular purpose of stopping the spread of covid-19, and trying to prevent needless death.
When things seemed dire, who could forget the powerful image of isolated families gathering to sing on their balconies along the Italian canals of Venice? And then the voices singing in a similar fashion from the fire escapes of New York City? The wave of folks buying sewing machines and making masks to try and assist essential workers. The outpouring of support for healthcare professionals, the videos of hospital hallway celebrations escorting survivors of covid to the golden light of recovery. John Krasinksi even made videos highlighting compilations of heartwarming news from around the globe called, Some Good News.
Even as this issue became yet another tool of divisiveness from the political spectrum among those of varying beliefs, beneath it all there was a forward momentum of progress. Of people bending the arc of the universe toward hope. And as 2020 concluded, hope loomed larger in our perspective, with vaccines being approved and beginning distribution, and the American political zeitgeist on the verge of regime change, there is much to be thankful for even in the receding wake of despair.
Some Monsters Got What They Deserved
Besides 2020 giving us the gift of Donald Trump’s impeachment, it also provided other examples of justice being served to a few notable monsters of human kind that probably assumed their wealth would protect them forever from the long arm of the law. Most notably Harvey Weinstein, rapist extraordinaire, was found guilty of rape in Los Angeles, despite his attempts at appearing in court as a frail old man having to use a walker.
Jeffrey Epstein associate Ghislaine Maxwell was arrested and faces charges for her involvement in Epstein’s human trafficking ring.
Lori Loughlin, while maybe not a monster, at least a terrific example of the corruption of white privilege, was found guilty of her involvement in a college admissions scandal and sentenced to two months in prison.
As corrupt as it sometimes appears to be, sometimes the justice system actually works, and when it does, it is cause to celebrate.
Donald Trump Lost the 2020 Election
Despite Trump’s ardent showing of disputing the results, he was defeated in rather resounding fashion in the November 3rd general election. If he had won in such fashion, there is no doubt he would be calling it a landslide victory. Joe Biden flipped several key states from red to blue, reclaiming a lot of precious ground from the GOP. The states have already certified their results, and all that is left is for Congress to approve them with their vote on January 6th. There is no reason to believe this will not happen.
While Joe Biden is in no way perfect, it will still be such a refreshing breath of air just to know sanity has returned, normalcy has returned, gravitas and humility have returned. Respect and mutual understanding. Kindness. Knowledge. All of these things have been gravely missing from our leadership.
Donald Trump lost. His time in the Oval Office is ending. He has basically twenty days left of hoarding the spotlight and media attention, being the virtual mind suck that he has leveraged over the entirety of world news for four pathetic years. It will be such a huge relief to never have to think about this lunatic of a man again. To relegate him to the back pages of history and to begin the work of forgetting the dark stain he attempted to place on American politics.
Donald Trump’s reign of despicable noise is over. This is definitely cause for celebration. This is definitely a shot in the arm of hopefulness that the United States and the entire world most assuredly needs. Soon, we can begin to heal.
Here is hoping that in the coming year of 2021, when it is over we will have more than five bullet points to celebrate.