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Let's Go 2021

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Happy New Year, Welcome In 2019...
Happy New Year, Welcome In 2019...
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tps://" rel="noopener ugc nofollow" target="_blank">Few periods in our nation's history have been more challenging or difficult than the one we're in now." - President Joe Biden

As the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2021, our country seemed to be on the brink of climbing out of the nightmare that was the year 2020. With the election just a couple of months earlier, the country had voted for a fresh start and in just 20 days we were set to put the divisiveness of the election aside with an example of what a peaceful transfer of power looks like. The newly approved vaccines had given us a map that we could use in the new year to lead us out of a pandemic that had killed hundreds of thousands of Americans, kept families apart, and sent our economy into a recession. While we could not gather to celebrate a new beginning, the promise existed that our days of social remoteness were about to end.

The optimism of a new beginning died a quick but painful death on January 6, 2021, when Sore Loser In Chief Trump and his accomplices whipped his cult into a frenzy with a deadly cocktail of lies about election fraud, nationalism, and white supremacism. Following commands to march to the Capitol and "have trial by combat", they invaded the People's House in an attempt to lynch their political opponents and stop the formal receipt of votes from the Electoral College. For the first time in our lifetimes, the peaceful transfer of power actually seemed like it could be in jeopardy.

The assault on democracy continued in statehouses where Republicans feared that they were losing their grips on power. Instead of adjusting their policies to meet the needs of the electorate, they sought to reduce the electorate to those who agree with their policies. In Georgia, a state that Trump unexpectedly lost to Biden, the voter suppression law was particularly devious since it now punishes anyone who gives water to voters stuck in long lines. These are the very lines that officials had previously engineered to inconvenience voters in minority areas who were exercising their rights in a democracy.

Optimism's corpse was then deprived of a dignified burial by the right-wing's long-standing denial of scientific principles. Not accepting the concept of evolution, rejecting the seriousness of COVID-19, and not understanding the power of vaccines were not effective ways of preventing the spread of a pandemic. When the rapidly evolving COVID-19 virus morphed into the Delta Variant, it caused another spike in infections, which resulted in hospitals (and the health care workers who staff them) once again being overwhelmed and an escalation of deaths. Not unsurprisingly, the areas that were most affected were the ones with the least protection from vaccines.

After decades of opposing a woman's right to choose when she brings a baby into this world, fighting against the ability for all couples to marry, and forcing their religious doctrine on non-believers, Trump's Republican party suddenly accepted the concept of choice. Unfortunately, their concept of "my body, my choices" neglects to take into account the effects of their decisions on society as a whole. When science deniers choose not to wear a mask or get vaccinated, they will have to live with the consequences, but so will everyone else that they infect. Their deliberate inaction provided the fertile ground needed to keep the pandemic alive and ensured that normalcy could not return in 2021.

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With Trump still promoting his big lie, anti-vax hysteria still embedded in the population, and the omicron variant rapidly spreading, there is little optimism as we start a new year. However, the one bit of hope that we can hold on to from the lessons of 2021 is that the future is never written in stone. Last year that meant we failed where we should have succeeded. Perhaps the coming year will bring successes where we thought we were doomed to fail.

A look back at 2021"

Carl Petersen is a parent advocate for students with special education needs and public education. He is an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council and serves as the Education Chair. As a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race, he was endorsed by Network for Public Education (NPE) Action. Dr. Diane Ravitch has called him "a valiant fighter for public schools in Los Angeles." For links to his blogs, please visit Opinions are his own.

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Carl Petersen is a parent, an advocate for students with special education needs, an elected member of the Northridge East Neighborhood Council, a member of the LAUSD's CAC, and was a Green Party candidate in LAUSD's District 2 School Board race. During the campaign, the Network for Public Education (NPE) Action endorsed him, and Dr. Diane Ravitch called him a " (more...)

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