2020 was the year we were told to be afraid of just about everything.
By S.T. Patrick
According to the Chinese calendar, 2020 was to be the “Year of the Rat.” It may be difficult to prove that this was anything less than acute foresight on the part of the Chinese, yet, for Americans, we have also just closed the “Year of Living Fearfully.”
For the first time in America’s history, a president will dispute the final election results through Inauguration Day. Not even the Confederacy disputed that Lincoln won; they just disputed the systemic electoral structure by which he was able to win. This was an election cycle in which the Democrats all but openly admitted that they, for the second consecutive cycle, cheated Sen. Bernie Sanders out of the nomination. And, for the second consecutive cycle, Sanders prostrated himself to the party bosses and Buy-A-Candidacy billionaire Michael Bloomberg shouting “Thank you, ma’am. May I please have another?” The Democrats bungled the Iowa Caucus so badly that former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg clumsily announced on Twitter that he had won before any official tally had been reported. No surprise—he did win. It’s amazing what having predetermined election results does for predictions.
After quickly moving on to New Hampshire and Nevada (pretending Iowa never happened), Democrats, 10 months later, seemed aghast that President Donald Trump would accuse historically Democratic polling places (Atlanta, Detroit, Philadelphia etc.) of having engaged in an historic level of election shenanigans.
The election was conducted largely on social media and predominantly by angry voters who unsuccessfully screamed, cried, and ridiculed their opponents into technological submission. Those who weren’t overtly angry kept telling us to “trust the plan,” a plan that has yet to be revealed in any substantial way. Are they still trusting?
Mr. Trump conducted his campaign in his most prominent role as the tweeter-in-chief and Democrat Joe Biden played to “standing-room-only crowds” of eight people. The mainstream media covered the Biden events like they were a continuation of FDR’s “Fireside Chats.” Mr. Biden ran on an extensive platform of “I’m Not Trump,” and Democratic senatorial and congressional candidates ran on the even more extensive platform of “We Aren’t the Other Guys Who Support Trump, Either.” It was not a campaign of significant substance on either side—not from President Trump, because he was never a policy wonk, and not from Mr. Biden because he had “forgotten” the substance (along with a few other biographical details, names of friends, current locations, and the real reasons why his son Hunter was so deeply embedded in the Ukrainian energy industry etc.).
Meanwhile, our politics became so divisive that neither side listened to anything supporters of the other had to say. It all boiled down to Donald Trump’s “ignorant, racist, white supremacists” versus Mr. Biden’s supporters who can’t see the senility for the trees and who can’t look at Beethoven’s symphonies without getting triggered by their systemic whiteness.
And then there is Covid-19, the pandemic that keeps on giving.
Only in 2020 could a New York University professor of propaganda, Dr. Mark Crispin Miller, get criticized for asking his students to question the mainstream media’s conclusions on masking. It was that kind of year. The contradictory releases from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) did nothing to assure the American public that this was either something to be imminently concerned about or something that could be controlled by flimsy masking, even if it was real. No matter where one stood on Covid-19, 2020 closed as a year when customer-first department stores called police on unmasked patrons, when unmasked patrons recorded themselves causing embarrassing scenes in the same stores, and when Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City mandated that everyone be masked—of course, that is, unless you were rioting, in which case the mayor just wanted to make sure you rioted in peace without the pressures of pesky regulations.
To borrow from the Chinese again, it is the year of the ying and the yang (with apologies to Democratic presidential nominee Andrew Yang). If Covid-19 isn’t a hoax, what is it? The CDC said it wasn’t as touch-based as they thought, and then said it wasn’t as airborne as they had thought. So, then, what is it? And should it have only allowed the billionaire class to get much richer while the middle and lower classes did worse? What is the average American supposed to think or believe or even know?
As Julian Assange continues to fight extradition to America—a UK judge just ruled he could not be extradited to the U.S.—the lionized Bob Woodward is still allowed to practice shoddy journalism based upon anonymous sources. Mr. Biden, of course, considers Assange a “hi-tech terrorist.” Will Mr. Trump do the right thing and pardon Assange in his final month? He is running out of time.
And speaking of Mr. Biden, in the year of Black Lives Matter, the Democratic National Committee promoted the architect of the 1994 Clinton Crime Bill and the California attorney general, who implemented it happily and forcefully in America’s largest state.
Can anyone be anti-war now? Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii tried and was all but exorcised from her party after Hillary Clinton hinted that Gabbard was a Russian asset. Sen. Rand Paul has tried, as well, and is treated horribly by the GOP.
Meanwhile, in American culture, the hottest show on television is about singers who wear costumes as disguises so that four B-level celebs can guess who they are, the hottest song is a pornographic ditty by Cardi B, the West Coast was on fire, and people spent a month in the spring hoarding toilet paper.
What every American lived with every day in America throughout 2020 was fear. This was the binding agent of American society. We were told to be fearful of Covid-19, to be fearful of unmasked human beings, to be fearful of people gathered in groups, to be fearful of police, to be fearful of historical statues, to be fearful of air travel, to be fearful of words, to be fearful of professional sports team names, to be fearful of indoor restaurants, and to be fearful of medical procedures that allegedly weren’t essential. In reality, we all ended the year fearful that our children are being educated in ways that are subpar even for third-world countries. We are fearful that our small businesses have breathed their last breath. And we are fearful that our military keeps dropping million-dollar bombs from billion-dollar planes in trillion-dollar wars around the world.
How do we overcome fear? We must first demarcate rational fear from irrational fear. Rational fear is being concerned about the most likely outcome of a situation. Irrational fear is being worried about the worst possible outcome, which is usually the least likely, as well. In 2021, we must learn to manage the two so that it can be the “Year of Living Successfully.”
S.T. Patrick holds degrees in both journalism and social studies education. He spent 10 years as an educator and now hosts the “Midnight Writer News Show.” His email is [email protected]. He is also an occasional contributor to TBR history magazine and the current managing editor of Deep Truth Journal (DTJ), a new conspiracy-focused publication available from the AFP Online Store.