Warning, political rant ahead!
Happy 2021! I know everyone is excited about this particular tick of the year. Finally, at last, 2021!
Uhm, of course most of us know that nothing has changed overnight, right?
The pandemic will get worse before it gets better – in the US many hospitals are at the saturation point, numbers will soar because of travel and gatherings, the death rate will increase from the already high 3000 a day (over 3700 on 12/30), the new strain is in the US and may rapidly spread, it takes over a month for the vaccine to work, it is possible immunity is short lived, etc., etc., etc…. We are not out of the woods.
And then there is the election thing. A full one third of Americans think there was massive fraud and the election was stolen. When Electoral College votes are counted, the Republicans are going to try to overthrow the results. If that doesn’t work, there is still the possibility of Martial Law being called. Tens of thousands of heavily armed people have sworn that they will start a revolution “to take back their country” if all else fails. The chance for violence in our country is higher than it has been since the 1860s. Even if that doesn’t happen, that third of the people, feeling that they have been disenfranchised and that the government is no longer legitimate, will surely cause issues.
With more people currently dying of Covid-19 every day than died in the September 11 attacks (soon may be September 11 and Pearl Harbor 12/7/41 combined every day) and the threat of extreme violence on the horizon, the next few months may be, well, rocky…
And yet, just as I had very positive vibes about my personal life as we moved into 2020, feelings that for the most part proved justified, I have positive vibes about the world in 2021.
For Covid-19, yes, the darkest days may be ahead, but, as they say, it is darkest just before the dawn. We can already see the hope that a vaccine will bring. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and we are sure it most likely isn’t an oncoming train.
But there is more than that.
I think that people have seen all of the hard times and are more grateful for what they have. They will not be as greedy to get the next big resource-wasting thing as they were. Eyes have been opened.
Of course, people have very short memories, but I think there has been a change. Looking at history, there have been shifts after most events like this. Ever hear of The Renaissance?
It feels like the last two decades has been a battle between those driven by short-term greed and self-interest and those looking to improve the world for everyone in the long term. That war isn’t done, but after the dark 2020, I think the vast number of people do want to find a brighter future for all. It might not be the vision that the people leading the charge in that direction have, but I think we will see a step in the right direction, the first step of a journey from the brink of shortsightedness.
A lot still needs to be done. People need to regain trust in the scientists and the experts that actually study these things, not talking heads on 24×7 “news” channels, talk radio and select politicians. But I believe we will turn the corner and it will start. I think people are beginning to realize that the reason more than one person in every one thousand in America has died of Covid-19 is because they listened to politicians instead of scientists.
I think it will happen. We will start to look at the world around us and say, “This matters in the long term”. We will look at our brothers and sisters who may look different than us, pray different than us (or not at all) or love differently than us, and we will see them as people, just like us, with hopes and fears like ours, with rights like ours. Not everyone and not all at once, but the shift will begin. We have been through a lot together. Hatred will still linger for a long, long time, but I think we have turned the corner.
I know this is a repeating theme here, but I don’t think we’ll solve any of the big problems this year. In many ways it will seem like any other of the last few dreary years, but the tide will have changed. Yes, just like with Covid-19, it may get darker before it gets lighter, but momentum will be in a positive direction.
And a lot of people will see this shift in momentum, including some of those that had been pushing the other way. Some will push back harder, but others will join the inevitable. For instance, some with large amounts of capital in fossil fuels will start to shift to renewables. Even without the environmental reasons, renewables will be cheaper in the next few years and fossil fuels will go away naturally – it has started. The writing is on the wall. If those highly invested in fossil fuels recognize that and shift their investments, it will just occur much quicker. And if governments and people give them even bigger incentives, the shift will happen that much faster.
Yes, in ways this has been a political rant. I wanted to rant even more! But the whole idea is this – I see 2020 as a year that the balance has shifted. Of course, those of us paying attention have noticed that it shifted long before, but now a critical mass has been achieved and the momentum has changed. Positive change is ahead.
I am optimistic about this change starting in 2021.
As I said, I know there is little to justify this optimism, but it is a feeling I have. (I also know that a lot of people will see the word I wrote above as an attack on everything they hold dear, but I also know that that number will shrink in the years ahead.)
Anyway, have a safe 2021! Keep optimism alive. Look forward, not back. And let’s make this the best year yet!
See here for my recap of my personal journey through 2020