"You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one
Thank god that’s over." -- From Imagine by John Lennon
The year that it seemed would never end is drawing to a close. Finally. At long last. About time. Good riddance. 2020 was historically awful. The Trump presidency has made each of the last four years trying but when one throws in a pandemic you’re in for a real mess.
I started this fully intending to recount all the horrors that visited us these twelve months. But it occurred to me that that would be akin to reminiscing with family members about the recent fire that destroyed your house. Everyone knows. Everyone wants to forget. Everyone wants to move on. Everyone wants to look forward to better times. I do think it’s worth noting that we’ve not seen the likes of 2020 since World War II (before my time). 1968 used to be the gold standard for awful years but it was a positive lark compared to these past 12 months. Trump + Pandemic = the worst.
So am I brimming with optimism as the new year approaches? Not so much. I am hopeful. Trumpy will be out of office and an actual competent human being — one who has empathy for others — will be president. So that’s a huge plus. Vaccines for the coronavirus should be increasingly available as the year goes on and the death toll should begin to drop dramatically by Spring. By summer we may start getting back to a new version of normal. Gyms, restaurants, theaters, schools et al might be open again, although in many cases certain restrictions will apply. Some for the short term, others permanently.
Social mores will likely change. I understand that handshakes may become a thing of the past, for example. In certain settings six feet apart may remain the rule for a bit longer. Masks will not immediately be discarded. Many more people will work and take classes remotely than pre-pandemic. Thus schools and work places will change.
I’d imagine that re-openings throughout society will be accompanied by a certain amount of paranoia. Germaphobia will undoubtedly be far more prevalent. I don’t imagine life will ever return to anything like it was before the pandemic. We’ll all adjust to a new way of living just as we have with the recent advents of the internet and smart phones. Yearning for the good old days will be common.
Meanwhile in the United States we’ll still have to deal with the science and medicine denying neanderthals that dominate the Republican Party and form much of the far right extremists who were emboldened by Trumpy. Currently these idiots are helping spread the virus by spreading lies about the virus — such as that it’s a hoax — while gathering in large groups and not wearing masks. They are acerbating the problem. Of course these are the same people who turn a blind eye to climate science. Speaking of which, trying to reverse climate change has got be another priority for the Biden administration. Every year the Earth’s temperature rises and we see the cataclysmic effects of global warming. How about putting the Green New Deal in immediate effect?
There’s a lot to be done to fix our very broken political system. For example, we need to eliminate the electoral college by the next presidential election. It would be nice if we really had a system in which each vote counted — LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD AND IN ALL OUR OTHER ELECTIONS. While we’re making changes let’s have universal health care. Oh yes and forgive student loans and raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour. How about we also legalize marijuana in every state. Let’s start taxing the hell out of the super rich and let’s cut the military budget by 15% and most important of all let’s eviscerate and re-write the tax code so that multi-millionaires, billionaires and huge corporations no longer get away with not paying taxes. Let’s also end the disparity in funds available to schools whereby some private schools and schools in suburbs have money to burn and many urban schools serving largely minority populations struggle for basic resources. Every school in the United States should have the same amount of funding per student, period. Let’s also reduce the power a majority party and particularly the majority leader of that party has in the Senate. It’s especially ridiculous when a senate is run by a party whose candidates received less votes than the minority party. Also let’s give Washington DC two senators. It currently has zero despite a population greater than Wyoming. Let’s also make Puerto Rico a state, after all, its residents are U.S. citizens and have been since 1917.
There’s a lot to be done in reforming our police departments. Our court systems need be overhauled so that rich and poor are treated equally. This would be just one of many ways to address the systemic racism that is rife in our country’s institutions.
Citizens United needs to be over-turned and there has to be further reforms to get money out of politics. Far too many political decisions are based on the wishes and desires of large donors. In a true democracy the wealthy should have no more political power than the poor.
After eliminating the electoral college let’s continue efforts to make it EASIER to votes and not only call out but penalize those who try to make it more difficult to vote (see the Republican party). Let’s also re-draw congressional districts so that they are fair and do not benefit one party. Gerrymandering shouldn’t exist in the 21st century.
Let’s rebuild our crumbing infrastructure and in so doing create jobs.
Let’s strengthen labor unions.
Let’s end the filibuster.
Let’s regulate the hell out of Wall Street.
Let’s protect our environment, natural resources, parks and wildlife.
Let’s secure medicare, medicaid and social security.
Let’s release non-violent drug offenders from prison.
Let’s ban private prisons.
Let’s tax the hell out of churches or any other house of worship that advocates for any politician, political party or political cause.
Let’s pass the equal rights amendment and protect women’s rights to choose.
Let’s reduce the huge profits made by owners of sports teams and the huge salaries made by players and pass the savings on to fans in the form or greatly reduced ticket prices.
Let’s tear down the NCAA and rebuild it in such a way that it actually serves the best interests of student athletes and universities and does not line the pockets of greedy officials and their corporate overlords.
Let's not just hope for a better future. Let's not just hope we never see the likes of Trumpy again. Let's work towards it. Together. Let's be understanding, compassionate, empathetic, reasonable people who prioritize the greater good.
Yes, I am a dreamer. But as the song goes, I'm not the only one.