The first day of every new year is a time to pause, reflecting on the past 365. Why even bother to reflect? In hopes we can learn something about the world and our place in it, in an attempt not to repeat our worst mistakes year and year again.
Or, we simply pause and reflect on another ridiculous spin around the Sun. Like humbled masochists.
Oh, January. It took six days for us to realize 2021 was gunning for 2020’s throne, when Trump’s bleating mob of anti-establishment rabid sheep stormed the Capitol building with zip-ties, walkie talkies, known Proud Boy domestic terrorists, and absolutely no intent whatsoever to overthrow a vote confirming Trump lost the Presidential election, kidnap or kill Nancy Pelosi and the mayonnaise-on-sticks who served as Trump’s Vice President, Mike Pence.
Since then, Republicans who fear being bumped from the gravy train of public life if they don’t court Trump’s terroristic voter base have proven just how easy it is to repeatedly lie about the truth.
In short, politics: 1. The people: big dumb zeros whose opinions never mattered.
There’s been an ongoing coup in Myanmar since February. And the world has been like, ‘Ok cool, call us when you know the winning side and we’ll talk turkey. Where even is Myanmar?’
In the world’s defense, they were still grappling with COVID and hit two million deaths from the virus worldwide. But vaccines were already in the arms of the vulnerable in the developed world, so the world had hope (silly, naive, little world.)
A ship got stuck in the man-made Suez Canal. For a fleeting week the world watched, and laughed, while economists fretted the rising cost of goods and the world laughed again – for they had already been adapting to the exorbitantly rising cost of goods much longer than was normal. They needed this small, now nearly forgotten, burst of pure unadulterated joy built around stuck boat puns.
So. Much. COVID. Denialism. By the same assholes who treated Asians like trash due to the Chinese origins of COVID-19. That’s right – “COVID is an overblown hoax, but it’s also entirely the fault of Asians I will now randomly punch in the street.”
Nothing to learn from that corner of the dank pit of the human experience. Moving on.
Rich countries get vaccinated against COVID-19. The virus mutates anyway.
In London, Ontario, a white racist mowed down a Muslim family, unprovoked, in his truck. In London, England, an off-duty police officer used his badge to kidnap, rape, and kill Sarah Everard. In the aftermath, Met Police blamed Everard for not knowing the signs her attacker was using to lie to her, and London, Ontario pretended like hell it wasn’t a whitebread racist butthole stamped on the map between Detroit and Toronto.
The year’s half over at this point, and there’s little we can say we’ve actually learned, but the optimist would say there’s still half a year, yet. Personally, I marked the one-year anniversary of the sudden death of my Dad in June – and event which sucked the life out of me. As fucked up as 2021 was to this point, this was still better than 2020.
Fine. We go on…
Billionaires went to the edge of space for ten minutes, floated around, and said, “For millions of dollars payable to me, you can, too!” In what was assumed to be no coincidence at all, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket looked like a giant dick.
Canada Day was no time for national celebration here at home. We were still reeling from the discoveries of over 1,000 bodies of First Nations children on former residential school grounds. We finally had to face our history of systemic racism, just like Our Lord and Saviour Gord Downie wanted us to do before he died.
We exhibited our understanding of historical events by toppling statues of Queens Victoria and Elizabeth II at provincial legislatures, adopting the modern tradition of destroying weird art to make political statements, which are then cleaned up or replaced using our own public tax dollars. S-M-R-T.
The Tokyo Olympics happened a year late, in a spectator-free bubble that undoubtedly broke the Tokyo Olympic Organizing Committee financially. It led to a strange two weeks in which a bunch of athletes and TV advertisers got their due.
We learned Canada might be a soccer country, and the best coaches in the world might come from the town of Consett, England.
We actually started to feel like the COVID-19 pandemic was on its last legs. LOL.
The US pulled troops from Afghanistan and the Taliban, whom US forces had been keeping from power for over a decade, immediately filled the vacuum of power all over again. Another refugee crisis was born in the midst of a virus that just wouldn’t quit.
Israel, one of the most vaccinated countries in the world, began administering boosters as the Omicron variant spread. The developed world still pretended the pandemic was over.
Vaccines can’t protect against the Omicron variant, we discover, and it’s all but too late to count this as a lesson learned as the virus officially kills over five million people worldwide. We don’t lock down again, having learned we don’t like locking down for too long, and businesses prefer when we’re working and shopping in the offices they pay rent for. Omicron laughs.
2021 looked at us, and all we had the chance to learn this year but would not, and took Betty White from us on the way out. “Go fuck yourselves!” said 2021 with a churlish grin. And honestly? Cheers to that.