Off We Go Into The Great Unknown

To say that 2020 has been a year of trauma would be a masterly bit of understatement—we’ve been trapped in a nightmare.  Any remaining shred of normalcy or tattered illusion that we control our own lives was ripped away by lockdowns and shutdowns that resulted in catastrophic job losses, widespread depression and anxiety, and pervasive damage to the very fabric of our society that is still nearly impossible to comprehend.  Fear and hopelessness has replaced enthusiasm and anticipation in the lives of many, and one can only guess at the pain all of this is inflicting each day on the younger generation who have had a formative year of their childhood or adolescence destroyed by living under siege.

We have during this process split apart, and it is difficult to believe we will ever come back together.  The distrust that pervades most every aspect of our lives infects every conversation, decision, and point of view and—like the virus so many now fear—results in its own form of social distancing as Americans increasingly isolate themselves from those with differing ideas or beliefs.  The net result is that “discussions” about many issues are actually antagonists shouting at one another across the great divide.  Any belief that we are all Americans seems lost in the race to criticize, castigate, and cancel those who dare to express a thought that differs from our own.  Free speech is in short supply when the Thought Police are on patrol 24/7 in order to identify those who need to be hounded into abject submission.

And now we have accusations of fraud and criminal activity concerning the 2020 Presidential election to provide more fuel for the dumpster fire of our national discourse.

These allegations are corroding what little faith in American democracy many cling to today.  To this point the opinions on both sides of this matter are driven by partisan passions for the simple reason that we are still at the “suspicions and allegations” phase of a process that may continue for some time.  

Democrats are certainly correct to insist that President Trump present proof of his allegations of massive voter fraud or quickly concede electoral defeat; these are, nonetheless, serious charges that require serious investigation because Republicans can rightly point to the strange disconnect between what was a very good Election Day for their candidates—except, oddly enough, for President Trump.  Add to this mix the justifiable fears many have concerning election fraud via sneaky computer software stealing their votes, and we now face a situation where—whether one considers these accusations reasonable or not—to dismiss them without a thorough inquiry will only provide fodder for dangerous conspiracy theories and extremist ideologies.

As we stand now with “President-Elect” Biden, we face the grim prospect of four years of deeply divided federal government.  With Republicans expected to control the Senate and Democrats reduced to a razor-thin majority in the House, we are likely to see our elected representatives in Washington, D.C. pontificating and posturing to little actual effect—or discernible benefit for our beleaguered lives.  The real action will happen in states, where crushing financial problems due to the Covid-19 shutdowns and lockdowns are set to unleash unprecedented misery on us all.

2020 has been a horrible year thus far; 2021 may not be much better.  Buckle up for a rough ride, America.  We have some hard and unpleasant decisions dead ahead.