New Year, New Hope
Changing an arbitrary number on a calendar won’t make all the world’s problems magically disappear.
But we’re already off to a good start.
Congress successfully overrode Donald Trump’s veto of the National Defense Authorization Act on Friday morning, delivering to the outgoing president one final humiliation to his historically bad administration. It was the first time Senate Republicans stood up to Donald Trump since three broke ranks to prevent his attempted massacre of the Affordable Care Act in 2017.
This was the 112th time Congress has overridden a presidential veto. The last congressional override, in Sept. 2016, involved President Barack Obama’s veto of the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, which allowed the families of 9/11 victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia.
Putting aside the fleeting revival of congressional Republicans long-lost independence, there are many reasons to be hopeful heading into 2021. First and foremost, we are just 19 days away from Joe Biden’s inauguration, which will mark the end of Donald Trump’s disgraceful presidency.
Sure, Trump and his scumbag supporters are going to keep fighting to the bitter end. The president will continue using his Twitter feed to air his baseless grievances, post propaganda videos dressed up as news from his favorite outlets and promote evidence-free accusations of voter fraud.
There will be one final erratic speech in Georgia on Monday, followed by Wednesday’s planned sideshow in Congress and on the streets of the nation’s capital. But none of this will change the fact that Donald Trump has lost, decisively, and will no longer be president come Jan. 20. His embarrassingly hapless coup attempt has failed miserably.
Should Georgia elect Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff to the Senate on Tuesday, Joe Biden will have an opportunity to bring real progress to the nation. But even if Republicans retain control of the Senate and stifle the new president’s agenda, just having Biden in the Oval Office will augur a new era of competence, humanity and sanity at the top of our government. There is plenty a president can accomplish, even with an obstructionist Senate.
Meanwhile, a seemingly safe-and-effective vaccine to protect against COVID-19 will soon be en route to your city or town, and all who want it should have access to it at some point this year. As 2021 progresses, life as we used to know it should gradually return for those of us who survive the wave of death that will inevitably take place in January and February.
Of course, just having vaccines available won’t eradicate the virus on its own. People need to actually get the two injections. Vaccines don’t end epidemics, vaccinations do. And, unsurprisingly, there has been a lot of early hesitation to get inoculated among those who have early access.
The same virus of stupidity and selfishness that has led so many Americans to eschew mask-wearing and ignore CDC guidelines hasn’t disappeared. Ridiculous conspiracy theories and anti-vaxxer nonsense won’t suddenly go away in 2021. It will all continue to proliferate, leaving the uneducated, ignorant and weak-minded vulnerable to the disease.
But, for those of us willing to trust science, scientists and medicine, far better days lie ahead.
By the end of 2021, Americans, by and large, should be able to return to their jobs, eat out at restaurants, host house parties, attend live sporting events and concerts, date new people, or just simply shake hands and embrace, all the while not having to worry about what an unhinged president will say, do or tweet.
And what a wonderful world that will be.