Sunday, January 31, 2021

2020: A Year in Review

You're welcome, 2020.
For those of us who lived through 2020, it is our sincerest hope that we never encounter another of her like in our lifetimes. Normally, I wouldn't feel comfortable speaking for the entire world, but this is one of the rare cases where things went so terribly sideways, and the citizens of little planet Earth were united by the common desire for something or someone to fuck right off. In this case, it was the entirety of the year 2020.

But as 2020 proved, years aren't bad. People are bad. Not all and not fundamentally, but people are can turn lemons into lemonade or improvised explosives. Sure nature is uncaring and ambivalent, but it takes people to really turn things to shit.

The year 2020 was, of course, dominated by the life-altering effects of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, which evolved into a global pandemic. It not only affected the lives of individuals, it shook the very foundations of our entire civilization. Or, at least, it exposed cracks already forming in the bedrock. Of course, the United States was a prime example of how a basic issue of health and safety could become politicized, but there are similar sociopolitical divisions that were laid bare all over the world.

We already knew that increased levels of stress and anxiety provide a toxic mixture that negatively impacts mental health, corrodes reason, and obstructs otherwise sound decision-making. But seeing it in action on a planetary scale is something else to behold entirely. As lock-downs and stay-at-home orders  were issued in nations the world over in an effort to maximize social distancing and stop the spread of an incredibly deadly virus, social media platforms like Facebook allowed for the large-scale dissemination of increasingly ridiculous conspiracy theories and outright lies and showed us exactly which family members and friends were most likely to break in a police interrogation or be the least help in a zombie apocalypse.