Here I am a year later. I just turned 93. Things are a lot different than they were a year ago at the beginning of 2020, in many, many ways.
The thing that concerns me most, even more than the COVID-19 pandemic and the challenges it presents, is the threat to our democracy and the startling fact that the threat has come from inside our country.
Over my 93 years on this planet, I’ve seen threats to our democracy before. But the threats have come from forces outside our control and by direct attacks by foreign entities. Included in the forces outside our control are events like the worldwide depression in the 1930s, World War II and past and present pandemics. The direct attacks were from Nazism in the ’30s, the Soviet Union, Pearl Harbor in 1941, the 9/11 attack and the recent Russian cyberattacks and challenges from China.
After engaging in four years of activities that often undermined the principles, policies and practices of a democracy, Donald Trump — the former one-term President — in spite of all evidence to the contrary, denied the legitimacy of the election with the largest popular vote ever. Furthermore, he supported and encouraged the rampage of the US Capitol.
Not only was it an attack on the icon of American democracy, it occurred at the time when the Congress was in the process of certifying the election in accordance with the Constitution. The process was interrupted and Vice President Pence and legislators lives were threatened. After the disruption, both Houses of Congress stepped up, reconvened, and certified the election of then President-elect Joseph Biden and VP-elect Kamala Harris. Democracy took over. We can also say thank you to Georgians and to Stacy Abrams and her team for their part in making the transition happen.
Hopefully the new team will be able to step in and help us recover from the pandemic and from the deaths and losses it has brought about. The Federal government has an important role in ensuring the well-being of all Americans, including the underprivileged and those who are currently hurting. Ensuring and financing efficient governmental operations is a part of everyone’s responsibility.
Furthermore, reestablishing democratic principles—being open, honest and transparent, and ensuring the role of the United States as part of the community of nations is also part of the new government’s responsibility.
Hopefully a year from now at 94, we can all say 2021 was better than 2020.