A lot of good things have happened this year. Exactly a year ago, we were anticipating a global nuclear war following the death of an Irani general. We’ve survived Covid, and in the meantime, fought for social justice following the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor. Donald Trump, despite all of his election claims, is set to be out of the White House by the end of January. We’ve survived. It’s safe to say whatever 2021 throws at us, it hasn’t yet been as bad as what happened in 2020.
However, following this sentiment, people on both sides of the aisle have expressed that they are looking forward to a year without politics. Best put by Star Wars actor Mark Hamill,
“I'm counting the days until this election is over so I can try to ignore politics & go back to tweeting show-biz trivia, toddlers laughing & heartwarming animal-rescue videos.”
Likewise, Scott Gottleib, former director of the FDA, predicts that Covid will be over one way or another by January.
While these things haven’t happened yet, it’s clear that people expect a return to complete normalcy by the end of January. A career politician is back in the White House. There will be no global pandemic. Everything is ok.
So, what’s the problem?
Regardless of how somebody expects a return to normalcy, their plans include a complete apathy in politics, social justice, and more. The silver lining of the combination Covid and the Trump Administration was that it allowed people to see the world falling apart, but made clear what they had to fight for. For some, it was ignorant politicians, for the sake of their loved ones’ lives. For others, it was a fight against police brutality, with more time to advocate, organize mass protests, and spread injustices on social media. There have been actual charges brought to their killers, and new laws (Breonna’s Law) intended to start repairing the inherently flawed justice system. In short, people have become involved like never before, with action to prove for it.
Yet, with the idea that their work is done, many are stopping their involvement in politics. Like Mark Hamill, if their leader isn’t incredibly controversial or an outright racist, politics becomes a thing in the back of the mind. What this year has proven is that power lies within the people. Joe Biden isn’t, and will never be, a perfect leader. Covid will not spontaneously end until everyone receives two doses of the vaccine. There is still so much work to do in combating systemic racism. It will take the effort of millions to influence the decisions of the Biden administration and millions more to change outdated perceptions that not everyone is equal. We’ve gotten so much work done this year. Why stop now?