So, 2021 is nearly over. About time too. You know, I get worried about calendars, really concerned as their days are definitely numbered. <Groan> I know dreadful dad joke, but that is about the standard of the last two years. The next two do not promise any better either. Yes, a little cynical, but I would think it obvious.
Let’s think about what’s happening. We have several variants of the Covid-19 virus around, and that doesn’t look like it’s going to go away any time soon. Case numbers are increasing again. We could expect that in the Northern Hemisphere, they are now in the first month of winter with the Winter solstice happening in a few days. We are also seeing an increase in cases in the Southern Hemisphere as well.
That was, to a point, unexpected. Case numbers were dropping as the weather warmed up, then they surged, fell back again, now surging again. The omicron variant is still being assessed but seems highly contagious, which is unclear is how dangerous it is. Superficially, it seems not so bad, but what the longer term impact will be, we can’t guess right now.
Some of the real lows this year have been the depressing manner in how some of our politicians have been acting. We’ve also seen on the news and in posts across social media how stupid people can really be. We’ve seen how vindictive we have become, how intolerant, how cruel. The list of inanities is endless, but the one good thing I can think of is that Covid has pushed the Kardashians off the front page.
Politicians are always interesting, but this year, they have been outstandingly dumb. In January, the US Presidential election result was supposed to be announce and confirmed. Well, what a blow to democracy that was. I have never thought that Trump would be particularly outstanding as President, but he amazed me. Undoubtedly the absolute worst President ever. Trump is willing to overthrow the entire democratic process just to avoid being seen as a ‘loser’. I can’t believe that people voted for him to begin with.
One of the most inane comments I heard about why people voted for him was that Trump wasn’t a ‘professional politician’. I tried to suggest that once he threw his hat in the ring, he was a professional politician, you think anyone would buy that? Not a chance. He might not have started a politician, but once he was elected, he became one, simply by definition, if nothing else. That’s when his true abilities, or lack thereof, came to the fore.
People throw up the Meuller Investigation as evidence of ‘political persecution’ by the Left. They say the same thing about the Jan6th Commission as well. The US Senate released an interim report about how the Covid pandemic was handled, poorly. Already the Rabid Right is debunking it as “politically motivated”. Well, yeah! Trump tried to do the same thing to Obama, I seem to recall, but it got no traction.
Trump never made secret his contempt for illness. ‘You get sick, tough, don’t expect any sympathy from me’ was as clear as day. Dead people, well, they’re losers, you gotta be a winner! The manner in which he mishandled the pandemic in 2020 was not just incompetent, it was outstandingly incompetent. What’s worse, Trump managed to politicize the entire pandemic issue. Why on earth would he do that?
Today, people are still dying, uttering the incredibly stupid lines that Trump fed them in the beginning. “It’s all fake!” “This is not real!” “It’s a Chinese plot!” “Ivermectin will save me!” “Bleach will fix me!” Unbelievable. It seems that Lincoln was tragically right, you can fool some people all the time. On the other hand, Carl Sagan may have been more accurate given the changing modern technical landscape.
The Meuller Investigation looked at Trump and Russia, with the main emphasis on Russian interference with the 2016 election. Yes, there was some cause for concern, but Meuller couldn’t get enough to make a case that Trump, or his election team, had direct Russian support. What ha since come out was that it wasn’t the Russians that were the issue. It was a legitimate US company, Koala Media.
Koala Media was a tech firm, and what they did was simple, and can be duplicated in future. In 2015, Robert Willis was an unemployed IT expert. He took a job with Koala Media and began constructing a number of interconnected web sites that all pandered the same fake news. This was Trump’s advantage, the only question was, did Trump or Trump’s election team, know about it? We’ll never know. If they did, they successfully perverted the electoral process, if they didn’t, then Willis and Koala Media corrupted the political process. Either way, no-one is going to be prosecuted for it.
The trouble for the rest of the world is that clearly, democracy in the US is in trouble. It is conceivable right now, that Trump could be re-elected in 2024. If that happens, the biggest question will then become, will there be an election in 2028? If democracy fails in the US then can the other democratic countries remain free and democratic. The US will be a DINO, a Democracy in Name Only. The prospect frightens the crap out of me. Is this what the Great Experiment, begun by Washington and a lot of others, is devolving too, the very thing they fought against?
I have no great love for the British Empire, but they did provide a lot of stability for all those colonies that they controlled. Most of those former colonies have remembered their colonial past with some degree of fondness, even retaining the sense of British Parliament. Not all of them, not all the time, but a number have remained relatively stable. Canada, Australia, New Zealand are the prime examples of successful democratisation. Although relatively young, they are all independent, politically stable nations. If the US becomes Trumpistan, how long will it be before those other nations devolve into autocracies?
Another disgrace aspect of the last two years has been the American obsession with guns. School shootings have occurred about one per week in 2021. When placed in the backdrop of the pandemic, it is simply mindboggling that people are not seriously objecting to sending their kids to school in the morning only be later told they are not coming home, ever again. The pro-gun lobby successfully lobbies against gun control and then refuse to support mask mandates and vaccines to protect their children against the pandemic. What must they think of their children?
Okay, I’m sure there is a lot of people out there who will tell me that vaccines don’t work, that masks are useless, as well as an infringement on fundamental human rights. There is one counter argument that I haven’t heard yet. I have a right to live. Why should your rights be more important than mine? What you do in your own home, I really don’t care, but when in public, we all need to adopt an agreed standard of behaviour. If that standard is deemed to include masks for general safety and well being, them masks it is. It is not a ‘sheeple’ thing, it is respecting my community’s right to attempt to remain safe.
Masks may, or may not, be an effective tool in the arsenal to reduce the spread of the virus, but we will never know if morons refuse to wear masks, cough over other people, abuse people who wear masks, refuse to co-operate with a mask mandate. The best thing would be for these morons to get the virus, but then, they would likely revel in the idea they have infected, can infect other people.
I can only hope that 2022 is better than 2021 and 2020. Somehow, I am not sure that will be the case.