If you are reading this post on New Year’s Day 2021, congratulations. You made it out of 2020. We would like to wish all of our readers happiness, good health and success in the coming year. Hopefully, you managed to remain safe during whatever New Year’s Eve celebrations you took part in, particularly those of you in areas where snow and ice made getting around more of a challenge.
As usual, I didn’t make any resolutions for the new year. That seemed even less desirable than usual given the current conditions around the country. But for all of the bad news we had to slog through last year, I still find myself feeling both optimistic and grateful as the sun rises for the first time in 2021. No, the pandemic isn’t over, but vaccinations are taking place across the country, if a bit slowly, and I still have to believe that the end is in sight. The last year played out like an episode of Black Mirror in some ways, with the entire world walking around wearing face masks and Zoom calls replacing hugs and handshakes among family and friends. As I’ve written in this space on more occasions than I could count, this is not normal. It’s never going to be normal. We have to find a way back to the way things used to be as much as is possible.
My one hope regarding this crisis, beyond getting the hospitalizations and death toll down, is that we, as a society, can stop living in fear of the virus and letting it dictate the way we live. There’s simply no reason that we can’t reach a point where we treat the novel coronavirus the same way we do the flu. It’s not going to go away, but we can and must learn to live with it in the same fashion. Diseases are a reality that has been with mankind for all of recorded history. And our ability to combat them in the 21st century is the best it’s ever been.
Speaking of normality, my other wish for all of us this year is that as we slowly crawl out from under the shadow of the pandemic, we also put an end to the “emergency powers” of various government officials and return to the normal rules of order. Too many of our leaders seemed to bite very deeply into the apple of executive authority during a declared state of emergency. A less charitable person might even say that some of these governors and mayors actually seemed to enjoy it. Laws restricting the free movement and speech of citizens should be as few as possible in number and they must be passed by elected legislators who can be held accountable for their votes at the ballot box. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that executive orders can quickly spiral out of control when legislative oversight is absent.
The last thing I wish for all of you is an enhanced appreciation of the sheer fact of being alive. We lost a lot of people in 2020 to any number of pitfalls above and beyond the virus. Many departed this Earth far too early, leaving a void for their families and friends to fill. You who are still among the living should honor their memories by living your lives to the fullest. Were I the type to make New Year’s resolutions, that would probably be mine.
Happy New Year to all of you. And may 2021 be a darned sight better than the year we just put behind us.
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