January 2021

2021 – New Story or Dangerous Sequel

We begin the New Year with a sense of relief. Pundits and commentators repeat the mantra, "2020 is in the rearview mirror" as if rolling a digit from zero to one means the worst is behind us.
I'm reminded of that great shot in Jurassic Park of the T-Rex chasing the vehicle. The mirror bears the phase "Objects Are Closer Than They Appear." As we put distance between us and 2020, we would do well to remember that phrase. We are not outrunning the problems that led to our past year of infamy: a year that saw racial reckoning and protests; a year that saw a large number of our fellow citizens willing to infect others with a fatal virus because they didn't want to be inconvenienced or told to wear a mask; a year of political turbulence where leaders seek power by pitting us against one another.
2020 might be in the rearview mirror, but its underlying root causes are very much with us and ahead of us.
The story of 2021 will be told in how we confront the issues that did not magically disappear when the clock struck midnight on January 1, 2021. It will be told through civility, compassion, empathy, hard work, and a realization that seeking the common good is the goal of a democracy. If we, the characters in the story of 2021, make these our themes and motivations, then 2020 can truly be relegated to the rearview mirror and together we can focus on the promising way ahead.