What this year is good for

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Gideon Aigner, Guest Columnist

536 C.E. is commonly referred to as “The Worst Year Ever” by medieval scholars. By 2020’s end, there may be some competition in that realm. In order to see why, we need to reflect on our past. In a way, the 2010s were “The 2000s: The Poorly Thought Out Expansion”.  All of the major plot lines were sloppily concluded. The War on Terror that slowly fizzled out, the Presidency of Barack Obama, and the financial crises were at their end at the end of 2019. All seemed well. Suddenly, however, humanity was turned upside down. I remember in December of 2019, when asked during a Speech and Debate Tournament about the state of Wall Street, I said the new virus in Wuhan was concerning for the future. Needless to say, that was to be the least of my worries in the coming months; but I wish it were for the sake of my own sanity. The common plot lines are popping up again, and it’s strange because they should have been long gone. The war in the Middle East should have been over, but in the United States’ withdrawal, there is a reaction similar to that of protesters when the Vietnam soldiers came home–one of disdain towards the armed forces, not entirely undeserved. But it is the antithesis of what many had been calling for for years, which was the end of war in the region. This was then exacerbated by the killing of Iranian General, Qasem Soleimani, which seemed almost like a Cold War assassination, or a killing that would have been conducted on a leader in the War on Terror a decade prior. Then, tying back to the Cold War is the suspicion of collusion with our enemy of that period, now known as Russia. It is not confirmed, but this is a plot line that has gone nowhere, but still lingers, with not many sure if anything actually happened there. One thing is for sure though, and another parallel in a foreign power rising out of a power vacuum, and that is China. China has become another version of what the USSR was in ideology, leadership, and government, at least to the eyes of the West. China even got the point where they ignored the advice of their own doctors and scientists, and refused to cooperate with the World Health Organization (WHO). This led to the biggest pandemic in a century, which is likely to be one of the most remembered events of the decade. This is a completely new plot line that has drawn upon previous ideas, and is being used to develop newer ones, such as the tumultuous 2020 election. All-in-all, the writers got creative this year. There are many lessons that can be drawn upon from past stories that have been told in the great tale of Human Existence, at least in America. We have had clashes with the Middle East before, and we made it out of that. Our economy has crashed twice now, and America recovered. The War on Terror may be over, but it has left scars that will not fade for a long time. Russia’s influence on the world stage lingers, while the new power in the far East rises. A giant pandemic has crossed the globe, and everyone is heavily affected. There is no normal anymore, and leadership is not agreed upon. Does this sound familiar? All of these are situations that have happened before. This is the reverse of Endgame, where all the bad guys team up to fight humanity. However, we will survive to be harder, better, faster, and stronger. If the people of the past can live through those events without the advances we have in technology, we can survive. It won’t be easy, don’t take my words wrong. I completely understand if this is all too much. But this too shall pass. To quote thousands of people, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” And that’s the good thing about 2020. It is making us all stronger. Next time one of these things happens, we can point back and say, “We lived through 2020. We can live through anything the world throws at us.” We will overcome eventually because 2020 is a huge culmination of everything. But soon, this crappy sequel will end, and we will be the authors of the next book. What will you help to write?