Thursday, December 31, 2020

Go in Peace, 2020, But Please, Go

Not many people will argue with the assertion that the year 2020 will go down in history as the worst year in living memory—from the unprecedented wildfire that started in Australia in January, with 46 million acres burned, destroying the habitats of more than 800 vertebrate species, taking the homes and lives of many people with it. Then came the cruel murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man on whose neck a white Minneapolis police officer knelt until he had no breath left in his lungs, which sparked racial unrest in the U.S. that spread across the globe, with public properties and historic monuments destroyed in its wake. But 2020 was only just beginning to show its hand. Many western U.S. states, as if taking their cue from Australia went up in flames and the Hurricane season broke a slew of records. By then 2020 was all set to play its main card—Covid_19—the deadly coronavirus that sprang to life in Wuhan, China, and then swept across the world with unpredictable consequences, shutting down countries, closing borders, killing millions, suffocating the global economy and sparking restlessness


It began in a familiar, erratic fashion, with tensions between the U.S. and Iran over the killing of an Iranian military leader, Qasam Soleimani by a drone strike ordered by President Trump. A surprising royal matter provided a scandalous interlude on January 8, when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry, and his wife Meghan Markle announced they were stepping down as ‘senior’ royals and left Britain, first to Canada and then to the U.S. 

Qasam Soleimani
The U.S. soon returned to its old ways with a Texas school shooting, followed by another in Aurora. There was no time to absorb the news of the two shootings over the weekend. The Federal Depository Library Program’s website was hacked by Iranians, who replaced it with a picture of a bloodied President Trump, and posted pro-Iran messages.


An impeached President Trump was acquitted on February 5, by the Republican-controlled Senate, and three days later the president fired Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman who testified against him at the trial. 
The disgraced Hollywood kingmaker, Harvey Weinstein wasn’t so lucky.

On February 24, he was convicted of raping an aspiring actress and sexually abusing a TV and film production assistant. In an unrelated case two days later, a disgruntled employee at Molson Coors in Milwaukee, in keeping with the American tradition of gun madness, opened fire, killing five people.


The coronavirus, which arrived on U.S. soil in January, and downplayed by the president, had, by March 4, affected 129 people, including cases not yet investigated by the CDC - Center for Disease Control, with ten dead in the state of Washington, and another in California, prompting the state to declare a state of emergency. And as cases soared, President Trump signed an $8.3billion aid bill. Meanwhile, there was an explosion in Los Angeles, a shooting in Baltimore, a Teachers’ Strike in Minnesota, and the abolition of the Death Penalty in Colorado.


It was no April Fool joke when President Trump fired his senior official, Michael Atkinson believed to be the whistleblower that triggered the President’s impeachment trial. With coronavirus ravaging the country, some in California, defying the stay-home order, organisìzed a house party in Bakersfield and paid the ultimate prize when six people were shot.


On May, 16, Trump fired the State Department Inspector-General, Steve Linick who had previously begun investigating the secretary of State, Mike Pompeo for abuse of power while in office. Ten days later, at an intersection in Minneapolis, a black man, George Floyd was killed by a white police officer during an arrest for alleged forgery, when the officer placed his knee on Floyd’s neck, ignoring the latter’s pleas that he couldn’t breathe. Following the killing, protests erupted all over America and quickly spread across the world, with the Black Lives Matter hashtag assuming a new potency. Soon what started as peaceful protests degenerated into violent confrontations with the police, burglary, destruction of property, and the toppling of historic monuments, which quickly eclipsed the earlier sympathy enjoyed by the protests against racial inequality in America.   


The Black Lives Matter protests continued unabated. On June 7, a man drove his car into a group of protesters in Seattle. The man allegedly fired shots into the crowd, injuring one person. On June 12, officers in Seattle expressed a desire to return to their abandoned precinct which had been occupied by protesters who called the area the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone. City officials, either in support or fear of the protesters, allowed them to occupy the area, denying federal troops any entrance. And in response to the protests, Denver public schools decided to cut ties with the Denver Police Department which had provided security for the schools. On June 12, Louisville, Kentucky banned “no-knock” 
warrants after a black woman, Breonna Taylor was killed during a police raid months earlier, as it emerged the Police had the wrong house and shot Taylor while she was sleeping. On June 13, it was reported that 10 SWAT members in South Florida had resigned, stating that they feel unsafe on the job amidst the protests. Meanwhile, various police precincts voted to ban chokeholds as a form of restraint. Earlier in the month, former Vice President, Joe Biden was officially announced as the Democratic Party’s candidate for the upcoming Presidential elections after dominating Super Tuesday.


Just two days into the new month, federal officials arrested Ghislaine Maxwell in New Hampshire for her alleged involvement with billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. Not only was she charged with sexual crimes against underage girls, but investigators also revealed there was a potential link between Maxwell and Epstein's finances. Meanwhile, as the coronavirus ravaged America and the BLM protests against police brutality and racial inequality continued, gun violence surged in many cities including Washington DC, New York, South Carolina, Chicago, and Atlanta.


Democratic Party Presidential nominee, Joe Biden picked Kamala Harris as his running mate, ending months-long speculation in the media. In Washington DC, President Trump’s counsel, Kellyanne Conway resigned in a move triggered by her 15-year-old daughter, Claudia Conway’s tweet that her mother had ruined her life. There were also multiple shootings, continued protests against police brutality, a hot air balloon crash, and an investigation into the operations of the USPS.  


A federal judge granted a temporary restraining order against the USPS that prevented it from sending ‘false’ statements. Colorado sued the company anyway for ‘misinformation’ regarding its untrue and conflicting guidelines about the upcoming presidential election mail-in ballots. The notable Supreme Court justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died at the age of 87, and as speculated, the Republican Party-controlled Senate decided it would fill the seat immediately. It was no surprise then when President Trump announced Justice Amy Coney Barrett as Ginsburg's successor. The much-anticipated first presidential debate between Trump and Biden took place on September 29, an event that turned out to be the most disgusting episode in presidential debates.


After months of playing down the coronavirus and holding political rallies and Rose Garden events with no social distancing, and even mocking his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden for wearing a mask, President Trump, his wife, Melania, his son, Barron, and several members of his inner circle tested positive for Covid_19, which made him and his administration a laughing stock on social media. He recovered after a brief stay in the hospital, but the uncertainty created by the state of his health resulted in the cancellation of the second presidential debate. Meanwhile, ahead of the November presidential elections, record-breaking numbers in early voting were reported in several states, with a dramatic increase in the number of absentee ballots, and a boom in U.S. postal ballot requests.      


On the first day of the month, a group of marchers heading to the polls in North Carolina was pepper-sprayed by the police to break them up when they held a moment of silence. That same day, Missouri officials removed a noose from a voting polling center. The following day, a federal judge ordered all USPS services to expedite all ballots and guarantee a one or two days delivery even after election day on November 3. By November 7, with votes still being counted and President Trump alleging voter fraud, requesting manual recounts in key swing states, various news outlets, called the election for Democratic Party candidate, Joe Biden based on the projected electoral college votes of 279 for him, with Trump at 214 electoral college votes. Determined not to concede, Trump mounted legal challenges, over fifty of which were thrown out by both state and federal judges for lack of evidence.


A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to reinstate DACA, a program aimed at preventing the deportation of an estimated 700,000 undocumented immigrants called ‘dreamers’ who were brought to the U.S. as children.

On December 9, the courts again rejected a bid by Trump lawyers to overturn the election result in Pennsylvania, though the President continued to seek recounts, so far, with no results overturned. On December 11, in another blow to President Trump, the Supreme Court rejected Texas’ bid to block thousands of ballots. Soon afterward, the electoral college convened and finally confirmed Joe Biden’s win. 

On December 14, a Trump loyalist, Attorney-General William Barr who refused to go along with Trump’s claim of voter fraud, announced his resignation. By December 22, Trump began a pardon spree, favoring many of his allies, business associates, and loyalists.

15 Quotes That Define The Year 2020


1. “Day 7 of social distancing: Struck up a conversation with a spider today. Seems nice. He’s a web designer.” Unknown

2. “My life feels like a test I didn’t study for.” Unknown

3. “First time in history we can save the human race by laying in front of the TV and doing nothing. Let’s not screw this up.” Unknown

4. If you had asked me what the hardest part of battling a global pandemic would be, I would have never guessed ‘teaching elementary school math.'” Simon Holland

5. “The only thing I gained in 2020 was weight.” Unknown

6. “So far, 2020 is like looking both ways before you cross the street only to be hit by a passing drone.” Unknown

7. “Coronavirus has turned us all into dogs: We roam the house looking for food, we’re told ‘no’ if we get too close to strangers, and we get really excited about car rides and walks.” Unknown

8. “After all the stupid things I’ve done in my life, if I die because I touched my face, I’m gonna be pissed.” Unknown

9. “‘He chewed too loud’ became the number one cause of divorce.” Unknown

10. “I’m not saying I’m going to suck at homeschooling my kids but my daughter just asked, ‘Dad, what’s a synonym?’ And I replied, ‘It’s a spice.'” Joe Heenan

11. “2020 is the strictest parent I ever had.” Unknown

12. “I picked a hell of a time not to have learned how to cook for the past 29 years.” Alyssa Limperis

13. “My husband and I switched sides of the bed this weekend and that’s what we call ‘vacation’ now.” Ilana Glazer

14. I wish days of the week underwear was still a thing so I knew what the hell day of the week it is.” Mommy Owl

15. After years of swearing that I couldn’t clean my house because I didn’t have enough time, 2020 has proven that may have not been the reason.” The Super Mom Life