The Change: January 2021

The world has always seen change.

In the early 1900s, if you were to tell Americans that within a decade we would be embroiled in a war which had the potential of knocking the nation to its knees, we would have said “pasha.”

Yet, that change happened.

Fast forward to the thirties. The market had crashed, stocks were as worthless as the paper they were printed upon and Americans were scraping for bread crumbs as a result of the Great Depression. Many of us recall our elders explaining that change.

And, how they survived and recovered.

We could easily go on – each decade experiencing its own great changes: the forties and World War II, the sixties and the Civil Rights movement, the September 11 attacks in 2001. We were once again under attack with the “Great Recession” of 2008. That change was hard to endure in our wallets.

And now, we have 2020.

When we first welcomed the year, like oh so many before, we brimmed with optimism. It was an election year and the stock market and economy were strong. Everything seemed to point toward smooth sailing. Yes, we had the impeachment proceedings, but over recent years, we had grown accustomed to drama in the White House.

Then, a few months in, things changed with a cough. By the time we tied that cough to COVID, we were already careening toward a cataclysm we couldn’t possibly anticipate or imagine.

Soon, we saw the onslaught of the killings of Blacks. Outraged citizens took to the streets to voice their anger. Riots, rage and despair became our new mantle. Americans pointed fingers, sticks and guns at each other. We had never seen each other behave in this manner, but it soon became commonplace, and worse yet, acceptable. As businesses were shuttered by COVID, people lost their jobs, lots of people.

Soon thereafter, like those Depression-era bread lines, cars began to clog residential streets as those who lost jobs reached out to food banks so their families wouldn’t starve. It was very humbling.

We had our share of “celebrity” deaths: Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Kobe Bryant and the like.  As usual, we had hurricanes and the greatest fire season the west has ever experienced.

We had grown fatigued by September, but we still had November, where cries of “fraud” were shouted during the election.

It had been all too much. Has been too much. We want it to stop, scream for it to cease, but it seems like everything keeps careening, moving like those vehicles on the news, plowing through crowds of innocents. We ask: “Why?”

Humbly I reply, America has always seen change.

As we move forward into 2021, we will undoubtedly see more change.

New people will soon call the White House home, and in the upcoming months, we can expect that some of those people who lined up in food bank queues, will stand in line to receive vaccinations. Stores and restaurants will re-open. We will once again be able to flex our mental and physical muscles at gyms, museums and schools.

And we shall hear and see a boom. Hopefully something more positive than what we’ve grown accustomed to this year.

2020 is a year every human being will remember – likely for the rest of our lives – as I think it brought all of us to our knees.

And, just like those elders who once told us how the Great Depression sought to knock them to the ground, we will, “pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and start all over again.”

Decades from now, when we are older and grayer, perhaps talking to children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, we will recollect upon the Great Pandemic and cataclysmic year of 2020. We may say: “Yes, I lived through that. It was all part of the change….”

And, with that, I end this as “Poolside from PS.”

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