2020

2020 is one of those years that will be remembered in history books. The deadly global pandemic, the lockdown of societies and economies, going inward, zooming outwards, racism and BLM, an election, divisive polarity, Biden/Harris winning, and the hope of recovery and moving forward.

This year has been tragic with over 330,000 Americans who have sadly lost their lives to COVID. I send my heart-felt condolences to their loved ones who are grieving during the holidays.  About 20 million Americans have been infected and survived, sometimes barely. They feared for their lives, as did healthcare workers, families and friends. Essential workers risked death for us.

The lockdown of our society was necessary to slow the pandemic, but it has caused widespread unemployment and hardship. People are struggling to cope with stress in their upended world. Political gridlock slowed the help urgently needed to recover, while our president campaigned against wearing masks and taking other precautions that might have saved thousands of lives.  

Staying inside has allowed many of us to go inward and see our lives and our society from a new perspective. People meditated, became more spiritual, connected with nature, realized what is most important, and what we could do without. We began to heal ourselves, and also heal our society. 

The pandemic brought into the light serious issues facing America, from no universal health care, to unaffordable housing, to hunger in a wealthy country, to videos of racist homicides by cops.

America is still grappling with our continuing legacy of racism. Our nation committed genocide against Native Americans and enslaved African Americans, and seized states from Mexicans and Hawaiians. We are a nation of immigrants who came here for a better life, yet faced discrimination. People rose up and toppled statues of their historic oppressors, athletes took a knee, and we voted.

The election map shows our nation divided between conservative rural red and liberal urban blue. Red America is resisting a changing country and clinging to a nostalgic version of America. Blue America wants to move forward. Blacks, Latinos and women refuse to continue being treated as second-class citizens, family members and friends are openly LGBT, much of our economy depends on immigrant workers, and we are becoming a majority minority nation.  

We need to remember that the red stripes in our flag have white stripes between them, and that the blue field has white stars filling it. A majority of Americans agree on many issues, like a climate emergency, but special interests try to divide and rule us. If we compromise and work together, red, white and blue can solve our country’s pressing problems. 

Robert Raven

Robert Raven grew up on three continents, but he's lived in the SF Bay Area for forty years. He has a BA in Government and a MA in History, and has been an advocate all of his adult life on various national and local issues.

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