Have faith people, 2021 will be much better.

As a roommate I had at Indiana University would say, 2020 has been the kind of year that would piss off the Good Humor Man. 

Indeed. We’ve had a pandemic that still rages and whose death toll in the U.S. alone has surpassed 300,000; an economic dislocation that has left millions unemployed and scores of small businesses bankrupt; forest fires that have devoured chunks of the West Coast; and an unprecedented number hurricanes swamping the Gulf Coast, not to mention a shortage of toilet paper that for a while had nervous shoppers mobbing supermarkets.    

   Even the Good Humor man can only take so much.

Worst of all is that the country faced these calamities under the leadership of President Trump, a clearly deranged individual who, five weeks after losing reelection by more than seven million votes, insists he won, by a landslide, with no evidence to support that. At times, it’s seemed as if Trump and his followers believe in a divine mandate for him to remain in the White House, regardless of democratic niceties or simple arithmetic. 

But his days in the White House—and the limelight—are numbered. It’ll be over on January 20, 2021 to be exact. 
And for all the debris 2020 will leave behind, I have faith 2021 will be a better year.

Some think of faith as a religious delusion, when desperate people hang their hopes on unprovable beliefs. But faith in this case is based on evidence: Our democratic system of checks and balances survived a tremendous stress test, and during the first few months of the new year, two Covid-19 vaccines will begin to control the pandemic that has left much of the world paralyzed by fear and uncertainty. 

Trump’s banana-republic sham to overturn a democratic election has been stopped by a small but crucial  bunch of Republican elected and appointed state officials, most notably in Georgia, who stood the ground against the president’s bullying, and a judicial system, including the U.S. Supreme Court, which also rebuffed Trump’s barrage of more than 50 lawsuits. 

America’s systemic guardrails have shuddered not shattered,” wrote the British newspaper The Guardian. That’s something to celebrate and give us faith in our collective future.    

The Covid-19 pandemic also is entering a new phase, going from dismal to gradually better news. Numbers of infections and deaths keep rising, in the U.S. and abroad, but Britain was the first to launch a massive vaccination campaign, starting with a Maggie Keenan, 90, and a William Shakespeare, 81. The Pfizer vaccine being administered in Britain has been approved for use in the U.S. and a vaccination campaign is ramping up nationwide. President-elect Biden vows 100 million Americans will be vaccinated during his first 100 days in office. 

“Back to normal” is still a long ways. There have been more than 300,000 deaths in the U.S. and 15.2 million Americans infected. Mass vaccination campaigns will not bring back the dead or reverse the rate of infections immediately, but such news offers the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, the promise to snap the relentless cycle of daily bad news about the pandemic. 

2021: Ahh, I feel better already!

It’s time to plan again. In January, Stew and I will head for the beach for two weeks. And we also have started noodling some plans to travel abroad in late summer or early fall. There’s no better antidote to the present paralysis, and often depression, than the expectation of change ahead. We have a number of friends who are also making itineraries and travel plans. 

Even before he officially leaves the White House, Trump is beginning to fade from the daily news. Biden continues to put together a cabinet and make other plans. Just getting past the maelstrom of disruption, Tweets and craziness that Trump has used to manipulate the nation for the past four years, by itself, should bring blessed relief. 

For one thing, we won’t reach for our phones or tablets first thing in the morning with the same dreadful thought: What now? What did that a-hole do now?

Pundits speculate about all the legal battles Trump faces after the moving truck shows up at the White House. Indeed he’ll be fighting a swarm of costly lawsuits until the day he dies. The worst punishment that awaits him, though, will be simply being ignored, getting shoved aside by truly more important news, people and developments. Irrelevance is the worst sentence we can impose on a narcissist. 

Imagine Trump not being the center of the nation’s attention. Yep, that’s going to be the ultimately punishment.

For a fun video accompaniment, press here.

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