2020 is almost over and all I gotta say is what the fuck was that
It was the culmination of 70 years of calcified post-war conservative politics (and yes I count neoliberalism in that), unchecked capitalist greed, and near complete civic disengagement by the largest generation in recent history (cough boomers cough cough).
As this year comes to a close, as a COVID vaccine looms, as Biden prepares for inauguration, it’ll be tempting to just put all of this behind us and move on. Please don’t. Because that’s exactly how we fucking got here.
2020 has been written on the pages of history for decades. All the signs and the evidence that all of this would happen—and all at once—has been there. Shouting at us. For decades.
Nobody wanted to hear it, few were even willing to consider things were as bad as people warned, and everyone was too busy with life to take the time out to do anything about it—because “work”, because “finances”, because “school”. We put off dealing with things until they exploded in our faces with such force they nearly blinded us. And now we are faced with escalating problems alongside more “work” and worse “finances” and harder “school”—all which are more stressful and trying than they’ve ever been. And the problems still need addressing—more pressing now than they were yesterday or the day before.
And It didn’t have to be that way.
We could have dealt with income inequality and corporate malfeasance and voter suppression and poverty/social welfare and all these related issues back in 2011, during Occupy Wall Street—that big reaction to the subprime mortgage crisis, when activists were screaming from rooftops about how all that shit was going to get worse if we didn’t deal with the root of the problem properly now.
Remember how instead of bailing out families so they could pay off their mortgages (which would have cost a shit ton less) we bailed out the auto industry and Wall Street? Remember how people lost their homes? How banks went after people who didn’t even have mortgages with them??
Look at how corporations have behaved during the pandemic (Amazon engaging in price fixing on essentials), look how the stock market has become emboldened by receiving absolutely no punishment for the “Great Recession” (betting on fucking water futures as resources dwindle and Flint continues to suffer), look at how corrupt police departments across the country have consolidated power over their communities after decades of hero worship and blank checks. Look at how they protect corporate property while killing innocent black people.
We could have dealt with these issues back in 1999 during the WTO protests, which were concerned with one of the very problems we’re dealing with now—economic globalization and the suppression of labor. But like Occupy those protests were suppressed and destroyed, and ultimately forgotten—and by the time 9/11 rolled around no one wanted to hear a word of sentiment which questioned American politics or could be construed as anti-American because 2,996 deaths and Never Forget.
Today, COVID-19 killed 3,054 Americans. Just today.
So when 2021 rolls around and we talk about what a shitfest 2020 was and “what even was that??”, the answer is plain on the pages of history. How and why we ended up here—it’s all there waiting for you to connect the dots. And every time you reduce 2020 to just some awful, wild, miserable year you are supporting the false and self-serving narrative of the people who dragged us here in the first place.
So I’ll repeat:
2020 was the culmination of 70 years of calcified post-war conservative politics, unchecked capitalist greed, and near complete civic disengagement by the largest generation in recent history. It didn’t come from nowhere, and there are clear cut roots to these problems and ways to fix them (and a long legacy of activist thought and discourse on these issues). But that means you can’t “go back to brunch” or “check out of politics” or “focus on X” to the exclusion of other things.
Take that with you into 2021.
107 more days for stupid shit to happen on this accursed year!
Don’t jinx it!
You’ll make it worse!
Have we finished with June yet?
Have we finished with June yet?