Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 31 Share on Twitter Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/24/21

Mean Old World (2021)

By       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   No comments
Follow Me on Twitter     Message Bob Burnett
Become a Fan
  (23 fans)

As I write this end-of-the-year column, I'm reminded of the classic blues lyric: "This is a mean old world to have to live in by yourself." My hope is that this holiday season you will be surrounded by loved ones; that you weren't forced to live through 2021 by yourself.

2021 was a mean old year. I'm going to recap some of the low-lights and then end on a positive note.

1.The Pandemic: The 2021 good news was that there was widespread distribution of vaccines to inoculate against the worst effects of Covid-19. The bad news was that some folks refused to get vaccinated. And, at the end of the year, there was a new Coronavirus variant, Omicron, that forced us to go back on alert.

Here in West Sonoma County -- where 100 percent of my age cohort have been fully vaccinated -- we are less concerned about the medical threat of Coronavirus and more concerned with the social threat: families ripped apart because some members refuse to be vaccinated. I have a good memory but I cannot recall anything comparable. The United States has been inflicted by a simultaneous public health crisis (Coronavirus) and a mental health crisis (fear of vaccination).

We've taken to wearing masks everywhere. My beloved choir did give a live winter concert. We limited attendance to facilitate social distancing and everyone wore masks (and was required to be fully vaccinated.) Amazingly, we sounded great!

2. Climate Change: The 2021 good news was the widespread acknowledgment of the seriousness of climate change. A recent AP/NORC/EPIC poll (click here) found that "59% of Americans said the Earth's warming is very or extremely important to them... 55% of Americans want Congress to pass a bill to ensure that more of the nation's electricity comes from clean energy and less from climate-damaging coal and natural gas." The bad news is that 2021 saw a series of devastating climate-related events. Here in California we had drought and devastating firestorms.

In Sonoma County, the 2021 good news was that we didn't have any firestorms, although we did have anticipatory power outages. And we had drought -- the Russian River almost dried up. Then the rains came with a vengeance; we learned about "atmospheric rivers." In one October weekend we had 13 inches of rain!

3. The Uncivil War: By nature an optimist, when the year started I expected Republicans to get over Trump and start the arduous task of rebuilding our democracy. That hasn't happened. A recent poll (Click Here ) found that "66 percent of Republicans continue to insist that the election was rigged and stolen from Trump."

This sad reality has many consequences. On January 6th, Trump devotees attacked the US capitol. Congressional Republicans have done nothing to help Biden deal with these tumultuous times. Many GOP politicians fight common-sense public health actions to deal with the pandemic. They are aggressively hostile to non-Trump believers.

Trump followers are possessed by a disturbing delusion: that our democracy should be eviscerated and replaced with Trump-based theocracy. The only slightly good news is that they don't want to get vaccinated and, as a consequence, many will be stricken.

Because I live in an overwhelmingly Democratic County, I seldom come into contact with Trump cultists. However, this summer I manned a "Vote No On the Recall" table at our local Farmers' Market and occasionally would converse with Trump addicts. As far as I could determine, they wanted to recall Governor Newsom because they didn't like the Covid-19 public health measures (masks, social distancing, and vaccination). By the way, the final recount vote was 38 percent yes, 62 percent no.

4. The Economy: One of the realities of living in a "mean old world" is that money cushions you from pain. If you are fortunate enough to have a steady job, own a house, and have savings, then 2021 probably was an okay year. If you had marginal employment, rented, and have little or no savings, then 2021 was a bad year.

Because of the pandemic, the US inflation rate has increased to greater than 6 percent. At the same time, the stock market (DJIA) has increased by 16 percent. Therefore, if you were struggling at the beginning of the year, you're likely to be hurting right now. (When I manned the "Vote No on the Recall" table, some of the pro-recall voters indicated they were suffering financially -- they wanted to recall the Governor because they blamed him for their economic malaise.)

California is an expensive (but gorgeous) place to live. These days we are losing a few residents, primarily because of the high cost of housing. Because of the consequences of climate change, more folks are moving close to the coast making those houses particularly expensive. Here in Sonoma County, we are trying to build more affordable housing and, at the same time, struggling with water issues. There's no simple solution but to continue to promote the progressive value of economic justice.

5. 2022 Midterms: Given that Republicans haven't gotten over Trump and, in fact, believe the 2020 election was stolen from him, Democrats are concerned that the 2022 midterm elections will see them lose control of one or both wings of Congress - the Senate has a 50-50 split and the House favors Democrats by a 9-vote margin. It's difficult to predict what will happen on November 8, 2022. Here are some considerations:

Trump, and the January-6 insurrection leaders, will most likely be indicted early in 2022. This won't phase Trump devotees but it will harden the resolve of other voters to not support a mob boss. Devotion to Trump will play well in deep-red districts, but not so well in others.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Bob Burnett Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Bob Burnett is a Berkeley writer. In a previous life he was one of the executive founders of Cisco Systems.
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Ten Telltale Signs of Republican Disease

Big Liars and The Voters Who Love Them

Obama vs. Romney: The Bottom Line

The GOP Chooses Fascism

2011 Budget Battle: Obama Wins While Democrats Lose

Obama vs. Romney: The Popularity Contest

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend