Carole is one of those on my mailing list, a long time friend, who sent me the following reflection which deserves its own space. Thank you, Carole.
Carole Lewis Anderson
2020 was the most provocative year of my life.
Most analyses have focused on the bad news. There has been much of that, driven by the actions of the Trump administration, and the systematic murdering of black Americans, followed by the first in-a-hundred-years pandemic, with its attendant toxic individualism.
The Trump administration, timed with the maturing of the Internet, has brought together extreme groups, which heretofore had existed in local isolation. Those individual voices of intolerance have existed since the founding of the country. The Internet has enabled them to create communities of likemindedness. Trump has given his imprimatur and the implicit right to forego courteous conversation, which had enabled disparate societies to function together successfully. This, combined with the silence of the members of the GOP, has shown that “never-again”s can recur, as long as those in power remain silent. That broad lack of courage has contributed to the expansion of Covid-19 with its huge death rate, and to attempted unconstitutional actions. An affirmative vote on the President’s impeachment might have mitigated the worst of the pandemic and stopped policies that desecrate the Planet and threaten our democracy.
As a result, the very existence of our Republic is in question. The health of the Planet has been dramatically further jeopardized. The refusal to rely on experts, and the unwillingness to listen and learn have become tokens of pride. Over 70 million Americans voted for Trump. Fiction-based media has popped up, and Twitter-based groups have established large followings.
But, some good news has sprung from this catastrophe. We elected a moderate and decent person as President, and importantly, we elected a progressive person as Vice President.
Let’s take this moment to revisit the definition of progressive: “happening or developing gradually; favoring or implementing social reform or new, liberal ideas”.
What the bad news has shown is that America needs to become progressive. The pandemic surge has proven that we need a central healthcare system; that pharmaceutical companies and hospitals should not operate for profit; and, that the poor and infirmed should not be sacrificial lambs.
The self-aggrandizing administration’s appointments and actions have shed light on the still imbedded racism on which the country’s early growth was based. We need progressive policies to root out racism in many of our institutions, and to underscore the value of education and the efficacy of diversity.
We did not need the pandemic to highlight the often unreported murder of black people for “being black”. We need progressive policies to reform the role of police in our communities. We need public ownership of prisons, which should be reformulated for repair and recovery of those incarcerated. We need enhanced community services and low-income housing.
The economic fallout from the pandemic has disproportionately affected the poor. We did not need a pandemic to expose the greedy underside of U. S. capitalism. To wit: excessive wealth for some while an inordinate number of Americans live under the poverty level. We need progressive policies to redress these issues.
The pandemic has given many of us time for introspection. Please feel free to share your thoughts on 2020, and importantly on 2021. I would love to listen.