Commentary

printed 01/01/2021

Much has been said about the year past, none of it good and none of it novel enough to bear repeating. It’s enough to say it is over, chronologically speaking, anyway, since we’ll be dealing with its reverberations for many more months to come.

Calls for better covid-19 responses, better safety nets for the poor and unemployed, better stimuli for the economy, better policing and racial justice will continue to ring in our ears well into 2021.

Similarly, the divisiveness fostered by the political extremes, populist posturing, political one-upmanship, and the insistence on loyalty over principal and reason will also carry over and threaten to derail the attempts to respond to these calls for corrective measures.

What a mess we have on our hands.

With some 340,000 deaths attributed to the covid crisis, with at least another 60,000 forecast by the end of this month, we can’t even agree on whether the coronavirus is real, much less how we should react to it.

Regardless of the subject being debated, the arguments are advanced in the shrillest of over-simplified terms for consumption by a public audience whose members tend to believe whatever supports their own inclinations.

You say handing out $2,000 checks in stimulus money to millions of people is too much? Then shame on you, you heartless elitist, who doesn’t care if people have enough to eat … even though that won’t be the case.

Revamping the police bill of rights in the Maryland General Assembly this session is not a terrible idea? Fine, don’t call us when felons are running loose in the streets and burning down your houses … even though that’s highly doubtful.

A mandatory mask-wearing rule is a violation of your rights? Oh, then that must supercede our rights, which include not being coughed on by you.

It was often said in the past year that we need to look out for each other, and we are apparently willing to do that as long as we come first and the others do what we want.

The year 2020 was a disaster, but if we don’t turn down the volume, regain our sense of reason and do a little more thinking for ourselves instead of listening to the screamers, 2021 isn’t going to be much of a charmer either.

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