Featured Image: The metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel. Picture credits to Michael Sawyer.
Everyone keeps saying “Thank God 2020 is over,” and sure, yeah, the year is over, but everything that is happening globally and within the U.S. and within our own lives is not even close to being over.
Joe Biden is not technically in the office yet, and frankly, I’m not convinced it will make all that much of a difference. He walked back on student loan forgiveness and is continuing with unjust immigration policies. He’s never going to consider Medicare for All. His COVID-19 plan is less than what we need. Nothing will fundamentally change on that front.
And, lest you forget, the election isn’t over; Georgia still has a runoff election for Senate seats on January 5th, which will decide which party controls the Senate for at least Joe Biden’s first two years. That’s HUGE in determining if he can get away with getting absolutely nothing done and blaming it on the Republican Senate.
Coronavirus is not even close to sitting on the backburner of our thoughts. We’re on course to have the highest level of infections yet, with recently over 3000 deaths in just one day. Yes, vaccinations are finally going out to our most vulnerable populations like nurses, inmates, and the elderly. But still, as of right now, less than 1% of the population has been vaccinated with their first dose. We’re looking at more cases and continued restrictions likely into next summer at this rate. We won’t be putting our masks down anytime soon.
And remember those protests we had earlier this year? Seems so long ago now, because the news stopped covering it as soon as the election began and cases surged again. Has anything fundamentally changed for Black Americans? Certainly not in terms of wealth inequality. And very few cities have implemented cuts or changes to their police departments, some even raised budgets. We still see police shootings every week on the news, such as most recently, a man shot in the back entering his own home while carrying sandwiches.
I am not saying this to be bitter or cynical; I’m saying this to be realistic in what our goals are moving forward. There is a faint light at the end of the 2021 tunnel in terms of eradicating the virus, but we can’t just throw up our hands and say good riddance it’s over.
We must stay engaged in our communities and in politics, or things like Trump’s victory and George Floyd’s death will happen again. When we turn a blind eye to injustice, it doesn’t make it go away. It festers and grows until it is us, too, that face the injustice. Don’t stop paying attention to the news because you got your vaccine, or because Biden is in office.
You must remember how your elected officials treated your community in a time of crisis. Did they push for a stimulus check and unemployment benefits? Remember how your employer treated you and your coworkers. Did they offer more PTO to settle your affairs, or did they chastise you for not getting childcare when daycares were closed? Remember how your local police reacted to the Black Lives Matter movements and protests. Did they march with you, or did they throw tear gas in your face and fuel to the fire?
As I said in a previous post, apathy and lack of empathy are disgusting. Apathy is how we got into this mess. A lack of collectivism and unionization is how we got into this mess. A lack of personal responsibility. A lack of accountability for our elected leaders and police officers.
Nothing will fundamentally change unless we actively pursue change.
In 2021, I want to volunteer. I want to donate. I want to protest. I want to (finally) read Marx.