My Thoughts On 2020 (So Far)
So, things happened while I was ‘away’. From Covid-19 to the murder of George Floyd, I’m pretty sure most of us weren’t aware that the d in ‘new decade’ stood for death. And e for extinction, c for catastrophe, a for assassination…
You get my point.
Some say 2020 is not the year we wanted, but the year we need; cheerfully claiming that the pandemic will teach us to be less selfish and George Floyd’s death will teach us that racism is (still) bad. Because this time we will wake up.
Hello, it’s me…
Well, wake up call, I’m afraid 2020 isn’t going to be the groundbreaking year these optimists are trying to sell us. As Black Lives Matter protesters pointed out during one of their demonstrations: the phone’s been ringing for over 400 years, finally quoting one of your favourite pop songs isn’t going to cut it.
Call me a pessimist, a glass-half-empty gal, but based on the political push for ‘before all this happened’, I think it’s safe to say that the ground beneath us is still as solid as ever. Just take the current call-back of so-called ‘progressive laws’ (or, as we call them, ‘basic rights’) in America and Great-Britain, and you’ll think twice before crowning Corona as our moral saviour.
In this global setting – where going back to normal isn’t a goal but a destination – it’s easy to see whose normal is taken as the norm; how the ground, even though it’s boiling, is still covered in frost.
Hello, is it me you’re looking for?
Though we claim to be united (i.e. everyone’s equal, we the people, stronger together etc.), it’s clear we don’t know what to do with ‘it’. European countries sing the all-too-familiar ballad of there-not-here while anxiously protecting ‘our’ heritage; because if it’s all there, why do we need to adjust?
400 years of ringing has, apparently, made us tone-deaf.
So, now what? How can we turn this year of death, doom and danger into a decade that does more than just picking up the phone. Though it feels like we’re finally creating some momentum, self-congratulation has too often lead to stagnation and degradation. Perhaps best demonstrated by #BlackoutTuesday, where too many tried to show their support instead of (continuously) being supportive.
Don’t leave me hanging on the telephone
As John Oliver concluded in a recent(ish) episode of Last Week Tonight, “it’s far too easy for nothing to change here, because that’s what’s always happened before.”
Basically: if you have the privilege (like me) to learn about racism instead of living it, now is (still) the time (like any other), to act. But it’s important to note that ‘to act’ doesn’t always mean to take action; sometimes an act is to listen, to make space, to sit and reflect.
So perhaps we can, eventually, learn something positive from 2020. But instead of it being based on presumptions (‘we’re all less selfish because of corona’, ‘we all think racism is bad’), it should be based on introspection (alone at home, thinking and re-thinking our roles in society and then acting on them). In other words: 2020 is not the year we wanted. Neither the year we need. But it’s, unfortunately, the year we have. So why not make the best of it? Or, to vibe more with my pessimist half-glass self, let’s find a way to navigate, redirect and act on our misery.
To quote a semi-inspirational quote from Pinterest, if not now, then when?