2021 Impressions: How are we doing so far?

On January 1st of this year, everyone I know was looking ahead to 2021. Hopefully, the New Year would usher in fresh air. Could it vanquish the bad vibes of 2020? Citizens of every country looked forward to a positive shift in US policies. And of course, most prayed the COVID vaccine would be available to us as soon as possible.

“We need CPR,” I told my friends, “and I don´t mean Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation.” I wanted to use the acronym to stand for: Clarity, Peace and Resolve.

But just six days later, our hopes plummeted when the US Capitol was stormed by a rebel band protesting the ratification of the US election results. They claimed the presidential victory had been stolen from their leader, Donald Trump. He should have been given “four more years”. Millions of TV viewers around the world watched these self-proclaimed “patriots” ransack the building. To gain access to private offices, they smashed windows, and made off with private computers and confidential documents.

It is yet to be determined if the violent actions were premeditated or if the crowds were enflamed by Former President Trump, when he spoke at a rally, “You will never take back our country with weakness,” he said. Most of the protestors were 20 – 60 year old white males. Their clothing alone made inflammatory statements that were impossible to confuse. One prominent figure who called himself, a “shaman” was draped with an animal skin, slathered with face paint and wore a helmet with horns. Reportedly it was the “Proud Boys”, a neo-Nazi group, who sported the T-shirts emblazoned with: 6MWE – Six Million Wasn’t Enough – a Holocaust reference.     

They surged towards the private offices and once inside, a few of them insolently sprawled over the desk of the Leader of the House of Representatives and posed for photographs.

Just before the die-hard protesters were finally dispersed with tear gas, the cameras showed a close-up of a skinny kid pacing back and forth with his Confederate and Trump flags. His face shone with the pride of a “true freedom fighter.”

The audio reproduced on millions of devices allowed the world to hear the rebels’ remarkable command of the English language. I found it amazing how they managed to modify the F-word, to fit all eight parts of speech – noun, pronoun, verb, adjective, adverb, preposition, conjunction, and interjection –But the cameras caught more than staged photo ops and erudite grammar. Video showed a police officer getting clubbed with a fire extinguisher for trying to hold the “patriots” back. He eventually died. In fact six people lost their lives during the violence.

Before this insurrection, Congress had been in the midst of ratifying the election results. When it became obvious that the representatives’ lives were in peril, Capitol police spirited them through never-before-seen passageways to a safe location where they were kept hidden for hours. When the crowds had been dispersed they resumed their duties. Once it was discovered that the protestors had actually set up a gallows for the Vice President, he was removed from the building under heavy guard.

Through all this, President Trump purportedly watched TV coverage, pleased with the mess he made. But truly, he misjudged. His megalomania caused him to lose much of his base’s support. Even they could not turn a blind eye to his actions. Imagine the Preident of the USA not trying to stop such behavior?

*

Then, fast forward two weeks to the Presidential Inauguration on January 20th. Thousands of American and State flags waved in the wind, filling the spots of people who would have attended this event, but could not because of COVID and clear threats from “the boys who love their toys”. Rumors said the rebels would be back for an encore. Armed National Guardsmen took the place of Democrat supporters along the traditional parade route from the Capitol to the White House. I watched on television as President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris were sworn in as the 46th President and Vice-president.

As expected, disgraced President Donald Trump was absent, but outgoing Vice President Mike Pence and several Republican House and Senate leaders did attend. Biden emotionally asked them for “an end to this uncivil war.”

Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Garth Brooks sang, and military bands played. All attending were dressed appropriately for the occasion – formal suits for the men, dresses and matching coats for the women – there was no crass language or rebellious posturing. Civility and propriety reigned.

The tone, demeanor, dress and intended outcome of January 6th and January 20th were diametrically opposed. The January 6th group aimed to incite violence. Those assembled two weeks later want to avoid violence. However, the lawlessness of January 6th has increased the skepticism that the world holds for western democracies.

I’ve heard leaders of other countries publically say they view western democracies as societies in decline. They observe that westerners have become soft. They feel “softies” are easy prey for charlatans and false Messiahs that lead them off course.

I grew up in post-WWII Canada and at the time, great numbers of refugees came to Canada and the USA. My sister has a friend who told me how she belly-crawled through the fields – with bullets flying over her head – to escape Hungry. After several months in a displaced persons camp near Vienna, she and her husband immigrated to Canada. They did not ask what place they were going to, and there were no complaints from them when they were dropped off in Winnipeg. Civic and church groups helped them get settled. It was hard for many years but the Hungarian couple prospered, and in turn they helped others.

As a young woman, I supported the humanitarian policy the Canadian government took towards South-east Asian refugees. Last year when I was in Vancouver, I went for a walk and came across a statue commemorating the exodus of the “boat people from Vietnam”. A late-middle-aged woman came up to me, and in a voice muffled by tears, she told me that her family had been on one of those precarious boats, but their lives were saved because they were allowed to come to Canada. I recounted this story to someone I know and they informed me that Canada, the USA and other “developed countries” could not keep “saving the world”. Her attitude saddened me.

I do not advocate opening the borders up for everyone to stream through, but laws must be put in place that allow for responsible, humane immigration.

Many feel western societies have become self-centered and aloof to the injustices in their own countries as well as foreign ones. This is one of the dynamics that allows hate groups and criminality get a foothold. President Biden is speaking up for human rights, for immigration, for doing what’s right. I hope that Americans and their allies will step up to the plate. I hope they will do for others what they hope would be done for them, and work diligently towards getting back on course.

If this doesn’t happen, we can expect more “shamans and proud boys” taking lives hostage.

Published by Changes in our Lives

I am originally from Canada but have lived in Mexico since 1976. My husband is from Merida, Yucatan and we raised our family here. We both worked for many years at Tecnologia Turistica Total (TTT), the tourism, language and multimedia college we founded for local and international students. Now retired, we enjoy spending time with family and friends, My other interests include spending time with freinds, reading, painting, cooking and travel.

14 thoughts on “2021 Impressions: How are we doing so far?

  1. Thank you for this thorough, accurate and thoughtful (as always) commentary. We are hopeful, yet must remain vigilant.

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    1. Good to hear from you Allison. Jorge and I miss our friends who could not come for their usual winter residency. This has been a trying year on so many fronts. But we have been resilient in the past… and when the world is safe, we’ll get out there again… Hopefully it will be SOON!

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  2. The political pendulum is swinging back from the far right of only four years ago. The debacle in the US capital was an exclamation point of its rapid swing left. The hard right will not deal with its loss of real political power well, you can lay real money on that if you can find a bookie willing to take that bet. I’ve been warning my wingnut friends to keep their heads down because the FBI is going to come around asking questions soon, setting up stings, that sort of thing. It is their job, it is what they do. I’m warning them, “Don’t be grist for the mill”. If the FBI comes and visits me, I’ll tell all I know-they should not have told me all that crap anyway, they know I’m a liberal. I’m not driving the bus but I’m more than happy to be a wheel. The line between free speech and yelling “fire” in a theater is a very wide line, they, my wingnut friends can not say I did not warn them of the line many times.

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    1. I don’t know too many wingnuts. But one I do know has wallpapered his blog with dribble that just doesn’t end. At first I felt so shocked by the sentiments he expresses that I thought hi had gone soft in the head. Then I realised he is dead serious. He blocked me from commenting when I suggested that he might be careful. These guys don’t want to learn, do they? But I doubt I’ll ever be approached by the FBI. They have bigger fish to fry than a decrepid mountain man old-enough-to-know-better. Another wingnut is a woman who makes me so sad. She used to be such a lovely woman and I am horrified by the views she now holds. She too unfriended me. I know people whose own mothers have stopped talking to them because they refuse to embrace the Trump talk.. Who would have believed this could happen?

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  3. You wrote a very comprehensive essay on what transpired in the USA in January. It’s been a packed year so far. I was in tears of relief when Biden / Harris took their oaths and believed that they believed what they said about protecting the Constitution. I believe that Biden will throw himself in with his whole heart as promised. And I hope Trump will find joy in staying on the golf course for the rest of his life. Thanks again, Joanna. xoxo

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    1. AsI watched Biden and Harris, I thought, “Thank God. The adults are back in charge.” I hope Biden will give Trump the strap if that’s what it takes to stop him from talking out of turn. And I hope Harris will make Trump’s overblown ego shrivel on the vine. (As it were) How he ever got elected is a mystery to me. But he’s gone now. We hope.

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  4. Joanna, you told me not so long ago, “I think when we are open about what we need, the right person is “sent” to us.” I read that at precisely the moment I needed to make a decision to trust some folks. First, thank you for that. Second, I trust these people (Biden/Harris), period. It is crazy it has come to this, allowing folks with provable track records of service to even be doubted. These are strange times. We simultaneously cry tears of joy, hope and relief and tears of sorrow for those seemingly lost friends, family and strangers, too. (How terrible we felt for those who died at the Capital riot.) Thankfully, we support each other. We are stronger together. 2021 will be a year of tremendous growth, fueled with honesty, for us all, both individually and collectively, worldwide. I feel it in my bones.

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    1. I hope you are right about 2021 being a year of growth because it has not begun without grueling labour pains. I too trust Biden/Harris. I am not American but since much of Mexico’s livlihood depends on the US policies… I hope a more responsible, sane government will be good for us in Mexico

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  5. I find it a little surprising that you seem to have stopped posting about Mexico’s politics and government. As I recall, you were, and perhaps still are, a strong supporter of AMLO. It would be interesting to hear your perspective on some aspects of his policy agenda (for example, the Tren Maya, the dissolution of autonomous agencies, Mexico’s immigration policy, etc.). And, perhaps, a comparison of Trump-style ”populism” with that of AMLO…

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    1. Well that is a good question. I suppose I don’t like to give an opinion when I am not sure just what that is. I still believe in AMLO and I feel he is the best option but the former parties of power have made governance almost impossible. They have spent a lot of money on their smear campaign and I think have sort of got to the President. He has never been a orator and now he is even more insecure so he says things he does not think through. I don’t know but I have been want to write about him again… you’ve given me a good lead in

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  6. I too hope 2021 is much better than the past year and hope Biden will be a good President and heal the country – he certainly has his work cut out for him. I have heard nothing recently about the immigrant children languishing in detainment for several years. I strongly hope Biden will do something to return those poor kids to their parents or guardians. I have just finished reading Mary L. Trump’s “Too Much and Never Enough How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man” and, in all fairness, can understand how Trump did what he did. What really boggles me is how he allegedly incited the 06 January “putsch”. In keeping with all defeated Presidents he could have stepped down gracefully and put his efforts into making the world a better place. .

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    1. Thankfully, it looks like the former president is getting his comeuppance… the vaccine is rolling out. And while both of these situations are not happening as quickly as we wish, at least the process has begun… we need to be patient just a while longer.

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