In the two Act play, Waiting for Godot by Samuel Becket, two characters have discussions and encounters while waiting for Godot-who in the end never shows up.
In some ways we have been waiting for this new year in similar fashion, a similar tragic comedy. Unlike Godot, thankfully, 2021 should show up.
Wits and pundits have been pontificating on the year 2020 in endless narratives. The virus of course the main theme, maddeningly repetitive, to the point of being irritating. The second tried and true theme or headline maker in the year that was, Mr. Trump, will like the year also be leaving centre stage; with reluctance, but going all the same. The heads of CNN, that liberal cheerleading foghorn is already meeting to figure out how to deal with the impending drop in ratings.
So we will try not to dwell on either of those stories.
For instance, did you know that 2020 was declared the “International Year of Plant Health” by the United Nations and the “Year of the nurse and the Midwife” by the World Health Organization? Me neither.
Did you remember that this was a leap year —which started on a Wednesday of the Gregorian calendar. I didn’t know that either.
There were other news events, contrary to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or the news editors around the country.
The Australian bushfires killed over 500 million animals; thousands of people were evacuated after a volcano in Luzon erupted; in February the stock market crashed and plunged by over a million points; 23 people were killed in Portapique Nova Scotia; in May, China reports no new cases of Covid since the pandemic began; Africa is declared free of wild polio since the eradication of smallpox in that continent some 40 years previously; the International Criminal Court accuses the Philippines of crimes against humanity in its war on drugs, while the United States formally accuses Switzerland and Vietnam of currency manipulation.
Mary Higgins Clark an American novelist died this year; as did Kobe Bryant. As did Little Richard and just this past week, John Le Carre. Different voices, different impacts but all having tilted the earth a bit on its axis. Many others left this world, less notable maybe, some you knew, some you knew of, and some with whom you had no connection. But their impacts were no less meaningful to those within their inner circles.
The finality of death confirms for each of us that we are but a small speck in this infinite universe and all of us are on an unpredictable time line. It should make us appreciate our own reality and the part that we play in it. It should allow us to have a perspective. Although it is often difficult to ponder a larger time line in this current social climate, bombarded as we are with the narcissistic pull of selfies, tik tok, and memes substituting for conversation.We are often snug in own self-interest, often oblivious on what really matters.
The trial by fire for this generation is now judged by many to be this dastardly flu. A flu affecting 1% of the population, but killing in great numbers our elders. Many of those elders, those walking history lessons, have been forced to spend their last minutes on earth separated by glass partitions from the very people who really matter to them. That was and is the true single tragedy of this virus.
The vast majority of us have been unaffected. The wealthy have been exponentially increasing their wealth, and many others have been relegated to bemoaning Netflix and iTunes for not providing enough to keep us entertained. It seems difficult at times to compare our fight to the “greatest generation” and their 20th century battles.
During this crisis, the middle income earners, have been free to buy up all that is in the stores, bake more, build decks, and put money usually gone to vacations into a new boat or a home large screen television. All while working at home –claiming to be at the same level of productivity— which still doesn’t seem logistically feasible.
People in the service industry predominantly have lost their jobs, while housing prices in Vancouver are predicted to rise 4% next year, car sales are up and no hot tubs can be found in stock.
The bottom 10-20 % who should be in revolt because of their having to bear the weight of this pandemic, have been temporarily satiated or more accurately sedated by the unlimited spending needle of the various levels of government. That will come to an end in 2021 and one can only wonder how long that cash infused stupor will last.
The drama of the virus plays every night, every waking hour on the 24 news cycle, which has really been reduced to a fifteen minute loop. A constant stream of fear, bolstered by constant experts with ever more dire predictions. Who would have thought that there were so many epidemiologists in this country? Many have seized on this period of time to be their Warhol fifteen minutes. I have also sadly concluded that not all of them are that smart. Emergency room and ICU doctors present themselves are now folding under the pressure of having to make constant “life and death” decisions. One would have thought that was part of the job description.
Other doctors, who have a counter narrative, are often pushed to the side, while others are elevated to super human pedestals. Dr Bonnie Henry dancing in her Fluevogs. Dr Fauci the tiny U.S. superman called upon to defy both Trump and the virus.
Big Pharma once the subject of all that is evil (where is Michael Moore now?) are now riding white steeds into the breach to save us all. Does anyone now care what the vaccine costs?
Does anyone believe that we are well positioned in our hospitals and emergency rooms for any natural disaster? All those emergency planning departments that have been around for years apparently did not have enough foresight to make sure there were enough medical masks for an ICU unit that may have to run at 100%. We learn throughout the country that are capacity is in the hundreds, when thousands may be needed.
But let’s not digress too deeply into that deep anxiety ridden hole. Let us pull out of this flat spin and talk about what the hopes, aspirations and predictions are for the new year.
First the predictions.
It seems too easy to predict that our news for the next few months will be stories of who gets to be first in line. Stories of blackmarket vaccine, why them and not me will push us to the point of a mental breakdown.
It is just as easy to predict that the government line will continue to brag about having ordered enough vaccine to inoculate the country several times over. (Trump’s group by the way say that they will have inoculated their 300 million by June…Canada with its 37 million by September.) All politicians are now hoping that the vaccine and its life saving qualities will paper over the sometimes ridiculous anomalies and undulating policies of the last few months.
I will predict that the RCMP members will finally get a pay raise. A secondary prediction which flows from this— half of them will bitch that it is not enough, while their union will brag about their skillful negotiations.
I will predict that the new Surrey Police Department will begin to form contrary to the RCMP Union wishes. I will also predict that the to be named Deputies under the new Chief Lepinsky will be announced and identified first by their race or gender. I know, too easy.
I predict that there will be a story about a 1950’s Armed Forces jeep breaking down on Hwy 401 in the slow lane, filled with vaccine, stopped in its delivery of the vital lifeblood on the way to Doug Ford’s house.
I predict in the next few months that theatres and gyms will remain closed, but liquor stores will remain open.
I predict that the Federal Liberals will call an election in 2021, feeling that the general population sees them as the only gift that keeps on giving. In that vein, I will predict until that election time, fraud in CERB claims will not be investigated.
Trudeau will salivate at the chance to run again (how could he possibly go back to being a high school teacher) and Ms. Freeland’s rising star will start to dim as the burden of the Finance Ministry and commanding a trillion dollar economy with no background in finance will begin to wear her down.
More people will work from home and government productivity will continue downward. They will also continue to blame Covid 19 into the years 2022 and 2023 for the delays and obfuscations.
I will predict that the newsrooms of the world will be scouring video and online chat, to identify a possible a new Covid-2021 to replace Covid-19, in a need to re-capture the ratings of 2020 and their very survival. (They have recently latched on to “variations” in the virus.)
I predict Trump will retire to Florida, will hole himself up in golf memorabilia filled room, eating cheeseburgers and Kentucky Fried Chichen- growing his hair to his waist, with darkened long fingernails peeking out from under his kaftan a la Howard Hughes. Forever tweeting from obscurity but never being seen in public.
I will predict that Biden will be sworn in as U.S. President and for the next four years will do nothing, which will please everyone. Kamala will continue to be frustrated as the President reaches the ripe old age of 81. Fit as a fiddle and in good spirits despite having to try and keep his son out of jail. Hunter Biden will continue to be the hunted.
What are our hopes for the New Year?
I do hope that Commissioner Lucki will find the fortitude to begin a major re-building of the RCMP. That somehow she will begin to realize that she is running an operational police force, not a cultural institution. (I should point out that I do not have a good track record when it comes to projecting hope…every year I hope that a Porsche Carrera ends up in my driveway with a big red bow)
I hope that Bill Blair is replaced.
I hope that we will return to a level of civility in this country, one where people are allowed to speak and be heard, in spite of having a different perspective.
I hope that this virus will at the very least lead to an improvement in how we treat and handle our elders. That we re-think the warehousing model. That an extended family once again becomes “a new normal” (I also hope with all my heart that the phrase the ‘new normal’ also goes the same way as the virus).
I hope that we begin to read and understand history. Believe it or not, most if not all the problems of the future have been part of the past. To pay attention to that past will show us the way, or at the very least lead to some greater depth of understanding.
I hope people will find the fortitude to give an honest assessment of all this Covid fighting and the ominous repercussions which have yet to be measured. I sincerely hope that human rights is once again is part of that measurement.
I hope that journalism finds its way. It is completely lost.
I hope that you coppers out there stay safe.
But most of all, I hope that all of you enjoy Xmas and have someone near and dear (Zoom near of course) I hope that all of you find something under the tree ( shares in Zoom? )
I am a lucky person, with both friends and family, and I wish all of you the same luck.
I will continue to pompously lecture from this blog site, safe and forever comfortable in always being right and very wise.
Happy Holidays everyone…. thank you all for reading and your support.
Photo courtesy of SilverTD via Flickr Commons – Some rights reserved