The Worst Parts of 2020
Today is New Year’s Eve, and as far as I am concerned midnight can’t get here fast enough. In a myriad of ways this year has been one of the worst years of my life, and I am certain that many people feel the same way. From the seemingly endless weeks and months spent in near-complete isolation, to the round-the-clock news reel of bad event upon bad event, 2020 is not a year I will be looking back upon with fond memories. I plan to send it off in a blaze of glory by drinking myself into such a stupor I practically erase it from my brain.
Having said that, in my mind there are a list of things that made this year such a complete and utter shitshow. Here they are, in no particular order:
The Year of Conspiratorial Thinking:
2020 was the year the world decided to go full Alex Jones. It was the year that all the misinformation and bot networks on social media finally proved their value to the world, by convincing hundreds of thousands of people to join a cult that wears tin foil instead of white robes. It was the year of QAnon. The year of the Anti-Masker and the Covid Denier. The year of Plandemic. The year of Demon Sex and of hating Bill Gates. Finally, it was the year of Stop the Steal, where we have Donald Trump telling his legion of supporters that the election was stolen from him, and they believe it. Evidence? Who needs it. Expertise? Pffft. That’s what YouTube is for. Respected journalism? A thing of the past. Whatever comes next for the future, the damages done to rational thinking are going to be hard to course correct.
The Year of Irrevocable Loss
The Covid-19 pandemic has robbed the world of so much in 2020. Besides the numbers of casualties to the disease, which are astounding, especially in the United States, one of the few nations on the planet that decided to just say “fuck it, let’s just play golf,” the disease has also robbed us of the ability to obtain closure for the loss it has caused. It will be a long time before we are capable of realizing exactly the true measure of the magnitude of this disease. 2020 took from us so many family members and friends. It took from us priceless resources of talent and iconic figures of the art world, such as John Prine, one of the greatest songwriters to ever live.
It forced many small businesses to close their doors forever, and pushed us further toward a monopoly of a world ruled by Amazon and Walmart.com. The movie theater industry is in danger of being fully replaced by streaming services. All of this while in the United States, our government can’t even agree to give its citizens more than $600 to help them not be evicted from their homes, during a period of mass unemployment.
The Year of Extreme Selfishness
2020 has highlighted like never before the toxicity of selfish thinking. It began in the early months of the year, when Covid-19 was first beginning to make headlines, and people reacted by panic buying, wiping the store shelves of necessity items such as toilet paper. These things became so scarce and in such high demand, that fist fights broke out in store aisles…over packages of toilet paper.
It continued when during the first wave of lockdowns people began spreading the false information that the impacts of covid were being over exaggerated and that everything was a conspiracy to hurt small business and make the population into socialist sheep. Thus entered the Anti-Masker. These are people so selfish that they blatantly and flippantly refuse to wear a mask to protect themselves or others from covid-19. If confronted by this they are known to get hostile and to even spit on people. Their denial of reality is a direct affront to those who have lost loved ones, a grand gesture of selfish disrespect, basically flipping off anyone who has actually had to deal with the harsh truth of the virus. These same people have been known to tell nurses there must be some mistake, when they’ve been admitted to the hospital themselves. The selfishness of 2020 is so severe, it refuses to accept its own reality.
The Year of Great Divide
Besides deepening the ravine that separates those of political ideology, 2020 also saw the wound of racial divide reopened in America. With much racial tension brewing beneath the surface in a nation seemingly under the yoke of a president with ties to white supremacy, a president who still has Stephen Miller on his staff even after his emails were leaked that blatantly discussed white supremacist ideals in regard to immigration, the death of George Floyd acted as a catalyst for a period of civil unrest. Protests waged in cities across America for months, and saw yet another disparity between liberalism and conservatism marked by shouts from corners to either “defund the police” or to enforce “law and order.” The Trump Administration went so far as to declare cities such as Portland, Oregon and New York “Anarchist Jurisdictions.”
In a year already brimming with such divisiveness, Trump continued to thumb his nose at reality, holding huge rallies in spite of covid restrictions. There were large gatherings of “Trump Trains” that had long lines of cars and trucks waving their flags of support. One such gathering in Texas featured boats that famously were sunk by the large waves some of their compatriots created by speeding by. These rallies continued to be held even after Herman Cain’s death was attributed to his attending one in Tulsa. Even when they were shown to be connected to spikes in case numbers. The year of conspiratorial thinking simply could not be stopped.
The Year of Isolation
The biggest impact of 2020 is yet another impact of the global pandemic, and that is the unparalleled level of isolation much of the world has faced in trying to combat the spread of this disease. For many of us, this has been a year without the usual social interactions we had likely taken for granted for most of our lives. We’ve had to live without things such as having friends over for drinks, going to see our parents, holidays, and even eating out at favorite restaurants. This has been the year of the Zoom meeting, the year of the quarantine, and the year of the pre-screen.
Unless you’re an “essential worker” you’ve likely been mostly at home with just your pets and your significant other for the majority of your time this year. This level of isolation takes its toll, especially on organisms that are well known to have a proclivity toward social engagement. We are social creatures. To abstain from this natural instinct in our being, creates psychological hardship and virtual avalanches of repercussions. It likely leads to increased loneliness, depression, and other maladies, which in turn leads to increased abuse of substances such as alcohol or drugs as coping mechanisms.
Whatever the case, 2020 has been a hard year to get through. And although it ends today, we are still going to be seeing its impacts for months to come. Maybe years to come.
So, as 2020 comes to a close, let’s not dwell too much on the negative, which this year has delivered in spades. Let’s look to the future, and to the positivity of what tomorrow may bring. We know that vaccines for Covid-19 are already approved and already being given to those most in need. Hopefully, as those vaccines continue to be dispersed to the populations of the world, we will see the threat of this virus at least drastically reduced, and hopefully as that occurs we can finally turn the tide and come back to some sense of normalcy.
Let’s hope that 2021 sees us put Covid-19 in the rearview of our lives and that humanity proves its resilience once more, by bouncing back with as much fervor and lust for life as ever.
Goodbye, 2020. And good riddance.