Sometimes when I write my last column of the year I look forward to what’s coming instead of looking back. I also know that 2020 has been one hell of a hellish year. Plus, people love lists, even if they are full of stuff that they hate. So I’m looking back with one eye on the dubious future.
Top story for 2020? Hard to pick really. Why? Because everything is related. Sure COVID-19 is front and center but would our nation’s official response perhaps be a bigger story? Or, is it possible that Mother Nature has had enough of our “business as usual,” and is just sneezing us off the planet?
This is not over and the virus has the potential of being our biggest story next year, too. December was America’s worst month yet and in this year alone, one in 1,000 Americans are dead as a direct result of something we had not heard of a year ago.
I remember tipping off the editor of the Aspen Daily News when the first known infections were dropped off in Aspen by Australian tourists in early March. Like Winter Park, Aspen is an international resort and it was only a matter of time. Resorts still have the potential to remain super spreaders until the herd is immunized.
The politicization of this emergency is perhaps the biggest story of all. Grand County lost a dedicated career Health and Human Services director because of COVID controversy. Do we open up and save the economy? Or do we wear masks and hunker down until it blows over? Can’t have a community without an economy and you can’t have an economy without healthy people.
You don’t have to look far to find political crazy makers. Lauren Boebert, Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District Representative-elect disdains resorts and people with intellect and until she was elected, was galavanting about her district in her MAGA hat and side iron, masklessly spewing absurd conspiracy theories to an eager audience. Now she’s bringing some Colorado crazy to the swamps of Washington and plans to participate in the unconstitutional coup attempt scheduled for January 6, 2021. Anyone in her district that doesn’t buy it is a snowflake libtard.
Boebert is capitalizing on the Sarah Palin syndrome where people are drawn to a good looking white gal with a gun and an attitude problem. We desperately need women to run the government but we need smart ones who understand that they represent all the people in their district.
I could go on about Boebert and politicians making the pandemic political but the bigger story might be the amount of people who stand in line for the Kool Aid which will surely kill them on the first sip. Yes, the folks not believing in science, common sense, law and order, equality, access to healthcare, accountability and diversity have an overly loud voice.
The undereducated militiamen kicking in the doors of government offices to protect their freedom to infect others are rioters, attacking police when it suits them and flying blue line flags from their truck beds at the same time. I’m past the point of wondering how so many can be against what’s good for them, the environment and the neighborhood.
Where are our national leaders you ask? Having fun of course. Vice President Mike Pence has been skiing Vail and Trump has been cheating at golf on his private resort. The fact that they don’t care about the people they represent is obvious but the fact that so many of these very people support the deception, bullying, disdain, pettiness and environmental ruin brought on by these “leaders” is telling indeed.
Three years ago at New Years, Aspen Mountain had a base depth of 10 inches. Pence came to town to ski and was met by a handful of local protesters. They waved signs reading, “Climate change isn’t real? LOOK AROUND,” and “Make America Gay Again.” My favorite was a sign carried by a little kid reading, “Think of someone else for a change.”
Is the human-engineered environmental collapse really driving everything? Our response or lack of response is stunning. It’s like having local municipalities take charge of the COVID response. It doesn’t work. Same with environmental issues. If one county declares a climate emergency and another doesn’t agree, what can one county do on it’s own? We are a million miles from consent on any of humanity’s most pressing issues.
If there’s one thing we can learn from Bossman COVID is that we are ALL connected, even if we don’t want to be. It’s the butterfly effect. When a bat sneezes, we can all fall down like a house of cards. We still haven’t learned from that and that’s the biggest story of 2020.
Steve Skinner wishes you a happy New Year. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.