Even in hindsight, the year we thought would never end still seems like the longest in memory. But rather than commiserate over it, let's resolve in the new year to learn from it.
Perhaps the first step is to identify some of the things we hope to see in the coming year that can distinguish it, for the better, from the year that preceded it.
The end of the pandemic — and a return to normal. OK, the first part's an easy wish because in all likelihood it will happen sooner rather than later given current trend lines and the arrival of a vaccine. What's not as clear is how quickly our state will return to a pre-pandemic outlook. And make no mistake, that's the change that will be most tangible to the majority of Americans who haven't caught the virus itself. Without a doubt, some will continue to worry about airborne ailments and germ-infected surfaces even after the pandemic is officially declared dead. And that makes sense for vulnerable groups like those of advanced age or with compromised immune systems. But we hope to see most Americans embrace anew the zest for life that helps define our country. It could be scaling the cliffs or hitting the slopes; cheering on the sports teams — in person with thousands of others; clinking glasses at a favorite eatery or pub, or dancing cheek to cheek — if that's how you like to dance. Maybe it's just working out at the gym. It also means seating our children once again in real classrooms and letting them return to the sports field — getting them back in the game of growing up. One lesson we must not learn from last year is to live in fear.
A roaring comeback for our economy. 2020 first and foremost took its toll on thousands of lives lost in our country and thousands more who survived only after a severe bout with COVID. Yet, the casualties also included the many, many Americans who lost jobs or entire businesses to the economic blackout. Missed rent and mortgage payments are a blow to both landlord and tenant, to lender and borrower. We want to see Americans earning, saving, investing and, yes, shopping in earnest again, thronging downtown storefronts, neighborhood shoppettes and major malls.
A more placid political year. Granted that's at once a foregone conclusion — what could top last year's presidential race for sheer acrimony? — and a pipe dream in the era of the perpetual campaign. Yet, we urge Americans regardless of political stripe to tone down the rhetoric. Critics of the incoming administration and its policies must always remember to accord the office of the presidency the respect it is due. We all are Americans first before we are political adversaries.
An end to masked madness. There were those, of course, who bristled at the mere sight of masks, as well as those who embraced them — even while riding a bike. We eagerly await the day masks are moot, and both sides can unclench their fists and treat each other as ordinary people again.
REPRINTED FROM THE COLORADO SPRINGS GAZETTE
Photo credit: Free-Photos at Pixabay