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Don’t Blame 2020. Blame…

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Blame us. Yes us, all of us, humans. We are to blame for everything bad that has happened to us this past year. Especially, of course, the coronavirus pandemic. It’s our responsibility, you see, and nobody else. You heard me right. Nature, which we keep mistreating and destroying, is not to blame for it. Not the bats, not the pangolins, not even the parasites. Just as you don’t blame the poor koalas in Australia for the devastating wildfires there. Or the dolphins and the whales for the melting of the ice. This world of ours, the only one we have, is crumbling under our feet. Well guess what: nature has decided to resist and is putting up a mighty fight.

Good for nature. And maybe, though there’s not much hope for it—when and if we put this terrible disease finally behind us—we will learn our lesson from it. We will change our ways. Stop polluting and destroying the oceans. Stop the melting of the icebergs in the North pole and Antarctica. Stop the decimation and killing of fish and animals and other species to extinction. Stop multiply so unconsciously that soon there won’t be a place for us here on earth any longer. As I said, the way I see it, we are to blame for everything.

But… maybe something good will come out of it at the end. This brings to mind something else: Hard as it is to say, one good thing has already happened. Here in America. Yes, here, in the killing fields of devastated America. Where we have close to 350,000 people dead, and more than 20 million infected—numbers that are growing by the day—it is tragic, and very problematic to say, but I’m going to say it anyway. Because this pandemic has saved our democracy. Has saved the republic. President Trump was going strong before it had hit our shores. Considering that some 70 million people have voted for him anyhow, despite his disastrous mishandling of the pandemic—surely he should be blamed for many of the sick and dead—there’s no way he would’ve lost the elections otherwise.

As it is, he is putting up a major fight against the results of the elections, trying to overturn them. Can you imagine what would have happened had the results were closer? And then, we would’ve had him as president/dictator not only for the next four years, but who knows for how long after that? With his disdain for democracy, for freedom of the press, and his adulation of autocracy, another four years would have given him the power to destroy our democracy for good. I have no doubt about it.

Of course, one might say he could—and should!—have behaved like a leader. Behaved differently when it came to preventing the spread of the pandemic. But to say this is to disregard who the man is. In line with everything he does, everything he is standing for, he decided that when it comes to COVID-19 he better abdicate the obligation to face reality head-on. Instead, he created a false, alternate reality for his followers to believe in. He and they are paying a heavy price for it. (Some of them, do you know, even when lying sick and dying from this virus at hospitals, still will deny its existence.) It’s hard to shed a tear for them. And it’s almost as if, it gives me pain saying that, the coronavirus–originated in a wild-animals’ market in China—was sent here to save us from him.

And that’s a good thing. So what else, then, is there for us in the “good department.” I believe there’s a real change taking place—even the cabinet-in-formation that President-elect Biden is assembling is proof of that—in regard to advancing the cause of diversity. The social unrest that irrupted on our streets this year, as a result of the murder of George Floyd (and other black men and women) by the police, turned the wheels forward. It’s hard to see how they can be unturned. The fact that we are diverse, and equal people, is taking hold. Those statues of racist men are not going up again. They won’t be put on pedestals anymore.

Next year, we will have a woman as Vice President for the first time. A woman of color, no less. And while the road ahead is still long, as far as correcting and amending the horrors and mistakes of the past, when it comes to the African American population, a significant change is indeed taking place. And I tell you what’s more, in a different arena though—but returning to the pandemic arena—Dr. Antony Fauci beat President Trump and his supporters. Hands down. They were ready to eat him alive. Trump was about to fire him. But the popularity of the good doctor was too much even for him. And now, in the midst of the pandemic, many young people—looking up at Dr. Fauci as an example—want to study and practice medicine. Want to be doctors. Good for them. And for us.

I have a feeling, also, that ‘kindness’ is on the way up, and ‘meanness’ is on the way down. Now surely, evil and violence are still very much among us, but it seems to me that people are finding ways to be kindlier to each other. I see it all around me. And I hear about it, too. So maybe it’s here to stay. (I myself have tried to be more generous and kindlier with my year-end donations. I hope you were too. And hey, like others, I danced by myself this year. Grew a beard and a ponytail. Heck, why not?) And what do you know, in the last couple of months I’ve begun to correspond with a thirteen-year-old Jewish girl. We are pen pals now. We write to each other occasionally. Giving hope to one another.

So let’s be kindlier in the next year, and give each other hope. We desperately need it!

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