Thankful for Barely Surviving 2020 [OPINION]
The year 2020 is one we'd all like to see in the rearview mirror. The whispers of a virus in China in early January became the global issue that eclipsed even the climate change obsession by the first of March.
We cowered in our homes, which became bunkers by mid-March. We were reduced to hoping others would continue to produce and sell food and household necessities. We Sham-Wowed every square inch of surface we planned to touch.
Some of us lost loved ones who, according to CDC statistics, mostly had compromised health issues when combined with exposure to COVID-19, although some died strictly from COVID-19 complications.
We became deeply divided.
As the weather warmed, a police incident in Minneapolis, Minnesota was used as the toppling event for the Black community to show more than just an end to their patience, but a massive campaign to force change in America. Protests, marches, riots followed. That also caused buildings, businesses, and even churches to come under attack. Looting, arson, and a focused rage against our police forces across the country became part of the mounting tensions.
Members of all races and demographics supported the Black Lives Matter movement – at first. A good portion of the support was stunted by those negative events tied to the protests, such as the looting and arson and other acts of violence, and failure to correct those acts by local and state governments divided us even further, as some condemned and some commended.
Our economy came to a screeching halt after a near historic surge few predicted outside of the Trump White House. Small businesses were forced to close due to COVID-19 in the spring, clearly not capable of absorbing the loss of capital like their big corporate competitors.
Just as things were allowed to partially open up as the weather warmed, business owners in some cities said riots forced them to close back down. There were multiple reports of people attempting to dine at make-shift sidewalk cafés restaurants created to stay in compliance, only to find themselves harassed and threatened by BLM or Antifa protestors as they walked past the area.
We witnessed a nasty campaign between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Despite people remaining at home more than at any time in history, we're told mail-in ballots caused the voter turnout smashed all records. Both of the candidates – winner and loser – broke the vote-getting record held by the 2008 campaign of President Barack Obama.
While the race was much closer than the mainstream media predicted, Joe Biden holds the electoral college and popular votes with strong leads, as we wait for final certification in some states and for the electoral college to formally cast its votes on December 14.
Media commentators and the president's political adversaries continued to put the blame for everything that went wrong in 2020 on President Trump.
According to them, he "killed" the 250,000 Americans who died from or with COVID-19. They lobbed accusations that he "fueled the flames" of the riots and violence in the reaction to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of local police in Minneapolis and Louisville.
Ninety-two percent of Trump coverage by media was negative, according to the Media Research Center (Editor's Note: the MRC is considered "strongly right biased based on advocacy for a conservative agenda and mixed for factual reporting due to the promotion of propaganda, pseudoscience as well as a poor fact check record by their primary sources" by MediaBiasFactCheck.com).
Twitter and Facebook blocked sharing of a New York Post article that claimed to have proof of Joe Biden and his son Hunter involved in corruption recovered from the younger Biden's laptop, with Twitter stating it violated the company's hacked materials policy. However, conservatives and those opposing the block claimed the social media giants were suppressing the story.
Whether or not people are convinced that the election was "fixed," far more seem absolutely convinced the fairness of the election coverage was anything but balanced and fair to both.
We are now divided even further.
While millions more seek alternative ways to get news, big tech and social media are finding ways to make it more difficult to do this by the day. Conservative blog sites and news sites say they are being "de-platformed."
This has divided us further.
As we approach the American holiday of Thanksgiving and as this year is the 400th anniversary of the Pilgrims landing in Plymouth, we will not have a parade, any public ceremony, and even our God-given right to have these traditional banquets are being dictated by the government.
We will not have a gathering of more than 10 people without the threat of punishment.
So as we (immediate family only, of course) gather around the much smaller tables than last year's setting, let us all give thanks that we still have the ability to talk about the shrinking rights we are allowed to exercise, for the smaller meals in front of us, and for the money we were allowed to earn this year for our families.
Let us be thankful also to the police who protect us as they face scorn for their very profession.
I would like to thank President Trump for deregulating pharmaceuticals, allowing them to contribute to the COVID-19 "Operation Warp Speed" program which has brought a vaccine to us in the same year as the outbreak, a fact that he will not be credited for in most of the things you will read about these times in later accounts.
All these things have happened to our nation in under nine months.
What else could 2021 bring?
Ken Pittman is the host of The Ken Pittman Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.