Lessons learned can make next year great.
by C.C. Campbell-Rock
History will mark 2020 as one of the most turbulent years in American history. Americans dealt with three pandemics—The Coronavirus, Police Killings of Unarmed Black People, and Trump’s Corrupt Administration & GOP Complicity. All had devastating effects on U.S. citizens.
In December 2020, the coronavirus is still taking lives in America. The day after Christmas, 330, 336 Americans had died from COVIDSars2. Health experts are projecting another 156,000 may die from the coronavirus by the end of January 2020.
2020 is the “Year of Reckoning.” Black Lives Matter Movement fueled worldwide protests. It started after Minnesota Police Officer Derek Chauvin murdered George Floyd. Unlike previous Black Lives Matter protests, people from all races and backgrounds took to the streets. Celebrities and sports figures wore relevant catchphrases emblazoned on their clothing and uniforms.
LESSONS FROM 2020 TO TAKE INTO 2021
Americans have been experiencing a necessary political revolution and hard truths about the true nature of American citizens and legislators. What occurred in 2020 taught Americans valuable lessons. We learned how to retain the democratic Republic created by the founding fathers. And how to reckon with the structural racism that pervades the country’s highest offices and institutions.
Here then are lessons to be internalized and acted on in 2021:
The Coronavirus Pandemic
Americans learned that irrepressible humanity still exists in the U.S. Americans have and will continue to risk their lives in taking care of their fellow Americans. Health care workers, grocery clerks, sanitation workers, police, firefighters, restaurant owners, city governments, volunteers, and other Americans have risen to the occasion. They kept the U.S. afloat during this horrible, life-threatening Coronavirus Pandemic. To that end, we must be grateful for their sacrifice. Remember to thank them and to do our part to contain the spread of this deadly virus.
Americans learned that many of the deaths of fellow citizens could have been avoided. If the president had acted as a public servant rather than a self-serving authoritarian more would have lived. Trump failed often and boldly. He refused to enact a federal plan and activate the Defense Production Act. Trump downplayed the virus. He “allowed the virus to wash over the country”. The president wanted to achieve “herd immunity.” He did not make the antimicrobial cocktail he was treated with available nationwide. He refused to wear a mask and social distance; Trump encouraged his base to attend super-spreader campaign rallies and even held White House events sans masks. These failures and his resisting the advice of health experts, caused the loss of tens of thousands of American lives.
There is one lesson every American should take with them into 2021.
The knowledge that “Every U.S. coronavirus death was preventable,” according to health experts. As such, all Americans should mask up, social distance, and avoid large gatherings; until the majority of Americans have been inoculated with the preventable vaccine. They should also gently remind family members, friends, and strangers, that we are one nation. And we all have to do our part to contain the virus. Additionally, those who can should carry extra disposable masks for those who don’t have one.
Police Killings & White Supremacy
Americans witnessed the senseless killings of unarmed black people by racist cops and white supremacists. (Ahmaud Arbery was killed by white supremacists while jogging). It’s a trend that continues today. However, the Black Lives Matter Movement, involved racially diverse people. They continue to call for police reform at local, state, and federal levels.
- lobby and press the incoming Biden Administration to reform the Department of Justice, reinstate Consent Decree policies
- create a police misconduct listing, so that killer cops can’t just go from one department to another. And leave Black victims in their wake.
- Americans must demand that their mayors and governors create police reform and police union reform plans
- And immediately terminate police who kill Americans for no other reason than skin color.
Trump’s Corrupt Administration & GOP Complicity
Trump, the GOP, and Republican Donors, Right-Wing Media, and Congressional Republicans all colluded in backing Trump’s potentially criminal behavior. They shielded Trump from federal prosecution, and allow Trump to destroy the guardrails of American democracy.
What Americans learned is that their freedom and democracy can be destroyed by the Republican Party, writ large. They aided and abetted Trump who is trying to stem the tide of the inevitable browning of America. Americans also learned that the Grand Old Party is intent on continuing minority rule in Congress and the Electoral College. They have combined to keep white men in power, full stop.
Another lesson to take into 2021 is to never again elect a wealthy, self-serving, narcissistic, misogynistic, homophobic, and xenophobic person, like Trump, to run this country. Americans must elect people who understand the meaning of public service and act accordingly.
2020 LESSONS TO TAKE INTO 2021
Another lesson learned is that every American must press for police reform, judicial reform, and federal government reform. The first thing that Americans should demand of the Biden Administration is to get rid of the Office of Legal Counsel and the Department of Justice policy that “a sitting president cannot be indicted.”
The final lesson that Americans should bring forth is that “no one is above the law.”
If Americans take these lessons into 2021, that will indeed be a Happy New Year.