Musings from the Bunker 1/1/21
Happy new year! No Rose Bowl. No Rose Parade. Largely meaningless bowl games with empty or nearly empty stadiums. Tom Masenga has been lobbying for weeks that I haven’t noted Notre Dame’s strong football season this year, particularly since I talk about the less-than-stellar USC Trojans. So, for you Tom: Good luck against Alabama and that 19 ½ point spread…! It’s a new year and the pandemic isn’t over yet. But we are slowly emerging into the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s going to be better. By September 1:
School will be back in session
We will all be vaccinated
We will be making holiday plans for next December
We will be thinking about longer-distance travel in 2022
We will be eating out
We will be on the road to recovery as a nation
Before we embark on this new year and leave the past one behind, we should recall some of the lessons we learned. In large measure this was a year when we were awaked from our complacency about so much in the world. Beyond the lessons of this public health emergency, our inability to respond effectively, and the heroism of the scientists and the health professionals, there are a few messages we received this year that we can’t forget:
We have been awakened from our complacency regarding racism in America and the disproportionate allocation of resources among our people.
We have been awakened from our complacency regarding the planet and the climatic changes that are no longer merely projections, but reality.
We have been awakened from our complacency regarding the institutions of our democracy and their fragility. If we don’t take actions to further strengthen our democracy and people’s perceptions of its fairness, we are doomed. No more can we take for granted that our fellow citizens are of good will and will adhere to the will of the people.
We have been awakened from our complacency regarding the power of the Internet and social media—and that its ubiquity can lead to the spreading of disinformation and untruths, feeding on our fears to turn people against each other.
We have been awakened from our complacency regarding American power. It is not unlimited; it is threatened; its vulnerability to “asymmetric” attacks and cyberwarfare is real. We have allowed those with less moral standing and fewer resources (i.e., Russia) to exploit our weaknesses (our division and suspiciousness) and our strengths (our democracy and our trust). Further, with the pandemic, we have showed that size, power, and resources did not enable us to fare better—in fact, complacency and the political infighting in this great nation contributed to our nation’s suffering.
THINGS THAT ARE HERE TO STAY
Thanks, Laura Stovitz, for adding to the list of “things that are here to stay,” even after COVID is gone:
Self Grooming-haircuts (Ken will never go to a hairdresser again)
More grocery delivery—why get in line when it’s delivered at the same price?
Mask wearing when using public transportation and traveling by air
Avoidance of public restrooms and wearing masks when using them.
Hang in there. Here’s to a great new year, Glenn