alk about a year everyone wanted to see put out of its misery. There wasn't a wet eye in the house at the stroke of midnight.
And if we mean by "house" a metaphor for the celebrated ball-drop in midtown Manhattan, there wasn't even anyone in the house. Times Square was closed for the holiday this year. NYCPD Chief to public: "Don't even think about trying to come." This New Year's Eve, the Great White Way was nothing but a movie set.
So now we have a whole new year to screw up. Let us not even bother to try to count the ways. We'll find ones you could never dream of in January. The truth is, we're not really supposed to get these years right. We're just supposed to survive them, as they come, one upon the other.
For a lot of people that's going to be pretty hard to do. Worldwide there were 1,835,399 deaths last year from the Coronavirus. We could possibly double that in the new year. But investors and policymakers are already moving their focus from the pandemic to the globe's environmental health. Even as it rages, COVID-19 is already on its way to being yesterday's news.
The global economy is looking a little shaky just now. It's supposed to improve in the second half of the year, presumably after the vaccines kick in, also in the second half of the year. Anybody hear any faint alarm bells ringing in that?
Trade, China, North Korea, world hunger, Iran, Putin all remain unsolved, merely awaiting their rotation back to the front page.
In America there's a protracted problem of a dysfunctional government and a polarized electorate, threatening openly and literally to split us into two Americas.
The Spanish Flu pandemic that began in 1918 killed as many as 100 million people over two years. But the following year, it just about disappeared from public consciousness, disaster historian Scott Knowles is quoted as saying in a recent Atlantic article. “It was swamped by World War I and then the Great Depression." And then there was World War II.
The recovery that followed World War II brought rampant prosperity, especially in the United States, but then we were consumed by the Korean War, the Red Menace, the Civil Rights movement, the rash of political assassinations. Vietnam. Watergate! Who can forget the great financial meltdown of 2008?
Sounds like a Billy Joel song.
Just like Roseanne Roseannadanna said. It's always something. And so will it continue to be. Just hold on to your stuff and keep moving. Don't forget your personal belongings.
In this country we seem to have a two-tiered economic sysem, a two-tiered social system, a two-tiered justice system, a two-tiered health system. Even a two-tiered knowledge system, and that could be the biggest problem of all. There is a very large sub-group of people who won't believe anything you tell them unless it isn't true or at least involves an impossibly complex conspiracy of some kind.