The year 2020 is just about gone; a year defined by politics and a pandemic. It is a year that I expect few people will remember fondly.
At the outset of the year most eyes were fixed on the Democratic presidential primary, not to mention the impeachment and Senate trial of President Trump. Who remembers that now? It seems so long ago. But it wasn’t.
By March the year had morphed into one in which the focus became the Coronavirus, taking countermeasures, and a frantic search for a vaccine. Mercifully the drug companies were successful in finding several vaccines, and in record time.
But not before American life turned upside down. Governors began issuing orders, often unilaterally, requiring citizens to wear protective masks, restricting travel and closing all but essential businesses. Essential businesses included state liquor stores and lottery sales. In parts of the country, churches and religious services didn’t count as essential, at least until the courts stepped in.
The travel and hospitality businesses took a giant hit. Plenty of small businesses will never re-open. Big cities took a big hit. Manhattan is like a ghost town; some estimates put office space occupancy at around 12%. People who can work with a laptop and an internet connection are doing so from home. City real estate prices are plummeting; the suburbs are soaring as people look for more space and home offices.
We lost a dear friend in May when Ron Thau passed away after a long illness.
But there is some good news amongst all the doom and gloom.
Amid all the chaos and conflict, the November elections came and went, accompanied by long lines and mail-in ballots. There was a huge turnout; the largest in percentage terms since 1900 when William McKinley thrashed William Jennings Bryan. In that race McKinley won a second term in a rematch against Bryan. Unlike today, Bryan (the loser) accepted the result.
Vaccinations of front line medical personnel began in December. More slowly than hoped for, but the process is now underway.
Most important, two family members (our nephew Tom Benning and our niece Shannon McDonald) announced engagements at Christmas time.
I have included some photos below from 2020 that reflect some of the tumult of the year. Here’s to a brighter 2021.