The Season of Light and Darkness
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Charles Dickens – The Tale of Two Cities
I wasn’t going to share my feelings during this time of ours. The year 2020 was supposed to be full of hope. But isn’t every New Year’s as we watch the ball drop? Who knew this year would resonate with Mr. Dickens’s words?
For me, I’ve always believed the start of a new year is full of spirit. No matter where I was in my journey through life, the new year always brought me hope. This year was no different. As my husband and I tried to wake our granddaughter, to no avail, so she could watch the ball drop with us, we took pictures on our phone of the TV screen for her to view the next day. She had been so excited and, 20 minutes before the new year, she fell asleep. Maybe we all should have fallen asleep.
Below is my modern-day interpretation of Charles Dickens’s opening paragraph to the Tale of Two Cities for the year 2020.
“It was the best of times.” Donald Trump, our 45th President, had boosted our economy to an all-time high. Unemployment was at 5%. Black unemployment was down to the lowest it’s ever been; Latino unemployment, a new low. All of unemployment down to an unprecedented low. The stock market was up. Trump was telling other countries they needed to pay their fair share for once. Manufacturing was back in America, small businesses were booming. Tax cuts helped more American’s, who hadn’t seen a pay raise in years, bring home more money to their families to improve their lives. Home sales were booming. It seemed our country was finally getting back on its feet from the devastating recession.
“It was the worst of times.” The media hates Trump. No matter what he did, negativity was all they could write. The Democrats tried to impeach Trump and, amidst all of the drama, China released a deadly virus. COVID-19 was worse than the flu. The first case to hit America was in the State of Washington. Travel bans to and from China started at the end of January, only 31 days into a new year. By March 14th, every state was locked down. People were told not to go out.
We learned what was and was not essential. Small businesses, large businesses, amusement parks, restaurants, bars, beaches, hotels, closed. Airlines cut back flights. Hospitals were afraid of being overwhelmed. All elective surgeries cancelled. All dental work cancelled. Face masks, ventilators, PPE shortages because America purchases these from China. Those sent over from China were defective. We all came together as one to produce masks, hand sanitizer, and ventilators.
Every country locked down its people. Shut them into their homes, only allowing them out for emergency visits to hospitals or grocery stores for food. Gas prices plummeted to new lows not seen in over 20 years. Supply and demand cut short. Grocery prices went up. Food shortages, toilet paper, bleach, wipes, paper towels, bottled water flew off the shelves, not being replaced.
The stock market fell, unemployment soared to an all-new high. Thousands died. In every country, the elderly and immunocompromised were the worst hit. It was as if The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock had come back from the grave.
Quarantine for only 15 days. This is what everyone was told. Stay ahead of the “curve.” The 15 days turned into 70 + days and longer for some states. Businesses went bankrupt. Food banks became the norm again since 2008.
“It was the age of wisdom.” We learned much in 2020. We learned the media loves to fuel fear. We learned about “fake news.” We learned who wanted this country to fail and who wanted it to succeed. We learned China was not only responsible for releasing the Wuhan virus, but most of our pharmaceuticals and medical supplies came from China. We learned how deeply embedded China is in this country. A communist country was allowed to come here and purchase up businesses, land, farms. We learned we had been fooled by past administrations in our government, so their pockets could be lined with cash. We learned Trump wasn’t going to stand for it any longer. This was his punishment. A man who was proud of what he had accomplished in three short years, was now faced with a devastated country; a devastated world.
“It was the age of foolishness.” The pandemic caused the wheels of time to reverse. When a bad cop killed a black criminal in custody by placing a knee in his neck while he lay on the ground, unable to move, the country went crazy. When a young black man was gunned down by three white men, and it took three months to arrest them, the country went crazy. When a young black woman was killed in her apartment because the police had the wrong address, the country went crazy.
Protesters, riots, violence ensued. Businesses, smarting from the pandemic, were destroyed by looters. People were beaten in the street for no reason. Buildings were burned for no reason. Seven police officers, black and white, were killed in various states during these riots.
White people became the enemy. If you were white, you needed to get down on your knees and beg for forgiveness. If you were white, you were KKK. If you were white, you had white privilege. If you were Republican, you were a racist. This was Trump’s fault, according to the Democratic party. He divided the people.
The hate emanated from humanity. They held up a violent criminal as though he were a martyr. And yet, in Chicago, over Memorial Day weekend, 200 black people lost their lives to black on black murders, the most ever recorded for the city over a weekend. And the country was silent.
People cried to remove the Confederate statues again. And the politicians agreed.
“It was the epoch of belief.” (The definition of epoch: a particular period of time marked by distinctive features, events, etc.) Yes, this period of time will be seen in our history books, unless the liberals get their way; then it will be swept under the carpet. But our children and grandchildren have lived through it. It may not be fresh in their minds when they get older, but I hope they don’t forget as most have forgotten the events of September 11, 2001.
It was a time when families slowed down. Daycare closed; parents had to become full-time parents. Working from home became the norm. It was possible to run a business from home. Pollution levels went down. Domestic violence went up. Suicides, up. Homeschooling, graduations were done virtually. Happy hours on Zoom, book clubs, friends, family. Marijuana, once illegal, became an essential business in the states where it was legal. Everyone wore masks, washed their hands, used sanitizer. And everyone believed the virus was deadly because the media told us it was deadly, every day. Until the riots. Then social distancing wasn’t a problem any longer.
“It was the epoch of incredulity.” (Definition: disbelief, skepticism, mental rejection (noun) doubt about the truth of something.) After quarantining for months, people started wondering if we had been duped. Surely, if one can go out and riot, or shop at Walmart but can’t eat at a restaurant or have a party on the beach, we had been lied to by the medical team in charge? If people can gather at Walmart but not at church, could we doubt the truth about the virus? Could the Democrats have pulled a fast one on us all, to devastate our country just to bring Trump down? After all, everything else they tried to do didn’t work; Russian collusion, Quid pro quo, Impeachment, now the Virus. Many are rejecting this scenario, and yet many are believing anything is possible. If wearing a mask, social distancing, and washing our hands kills a virus, why do certain government officials want to shut down our economy again?
“It was the season of light; it was the season of darkness.” We had it all, and then we didn’t. With BLM and Antifa wanting to take over the government, telling our young people this is the right way to go, I can only hope the youth of this country are smart enough to research what they are being told. Read BLM’s manifesto. See the destruction. If anyone thinks BLM and Antifa are the light, then we are surely headed into the darkness. Ask any immigrant who has come to this country why they wanted to be here. Their answers are all the same. It’s hard researching for unbiased information. A source that spells out both sides, the good and the bad. No opinions, just facts. It’s how journalism used to be, but that changed in the 21st century. Now, all we are given is skewed opinions and we have to dig deeper to find the truth. We have to work harder, and we have to be smarter, or the darkness will take over. The nothingness.
“It was the spring of hope; it was the winter of despair.” With the spring, brings hope and life begins anew. As people start going back to work and businesses start opening up – those businesses who have survived – we begin to feel hope again. But the winter of despair is upon us with race issues once again. The people who fought so hard against segregation, some with their lives, are being ignored today by groups which are pushing a racist agenda. If they win, it will be the end of the world. The history the cancel culture so desperately wants to erase will repeat itself, only not in Germany, but here in the United States of America. Listen to AOC, Omar, and Rashid when they state what they want for the American people. It’s easy to ignore history when they tote free health care, free education, government payouts to all, higher minimum wage to an ever-increasing population of youth who grew up with participation trophies. A youth whose parents had to work hard so they could have everything they wanted. A youth who is finding out it takes hard work to succeed but somehow has been led to believe the government owes them. This is how Hitler was able to take over Germany, with promises he never intended to keep. And this is how AOC, Omar, and Rashid are acting.
“They had no intention of cooperating with the Democratic government, knowing it was to their advantage to let things get worse in the United States, thus increasing the appeal of Socialism to an ever more miserable people. Antifa and BLM supporters dressed in black clothing celebrated their electoral victory by smashing the windows of immigrant, white and black shops, restaurants and department stores, an indication of things to come. Now, for the floundering American republic, the clock was ticking and time was on their side.”
All I did was replace the words Germany, Nazi, Hitler, and Jews in this paragraph with what is happening today, under our very noses. Will this be our history?
If you believe: There is only one race and that’s the human race.
If you believe: Treat others as you would want to be treated.
If you believe: Teach your children respect for everyone.
If you believe: Practice what you preach.
If you believe: We are all brothers and sisters.
If you believe: We all are going through life the best we know how.
If you believe: We all bleed red.
If you believe: Don’t let hate fuel your heart.
Then there truly is hope left in this world. Let’s not let evil win this fight.
“I once was blind, but now I see.”