Is 2020 the Year of Clear Vision?

20/20 vision is what we all strive for — right? Early this year, actually in January, I read about someone comparing the year 2020 to a year when we as Americans would have a clear vision of what lies ahead for our country. While they meant it in the most hopeful way, they were actually right. But not in the way we expected. Not in a hopeful and joyous way.

2020 has provided lots of clarity. But the vision it has provided, shows just how far we must go to turn things around in the US. It shows us that we have a large uphill battle to bring a nation that is damaged and divided, back to a place of harmony. Do I sound like a pessimist? I’m not. I believe in this country more than ever, and my genuine hope is that others continue on the same road to help fix what is broken.

We have work to do. And lots of it! We have a soon-to-be sworn in new President in Joe Biden. We have the first ever African American and Asian Vice-President — even better, the first woman VP. They have mountains to climb to bring our country back together — to fix the disaster that is 2020. I doubt that anyone would disagree that this year has provided more challenges than this country has faced in a very long time. Some are new challenges; some have been here, but the old wound has been torn open again. All combined, the impact of 2020 has been great. Let’s take a look at what I mean.

Let’s start with the obvious. The image above is not some unique kind of massager; it’s actually the COVID19 virus in all its glory. You would have to live on Mars to not have heard about COVID, and it’s impact on this world. Many of you are probably sick to death of hearing about this menace, so I won’t bore you with a bunch of unnecessary details. Suffice it to say that this killer has murdered millions in our country. And it’s sickened countless more. The good news is that there may be a preventative vaccine on the horizon. The question remains though — how many people will opt out of receiving the vaccine? There’s an old saying that goes like this: “You can’t legislate behavior”. That is so very true. People can certainly decide to not take the vaccine, and it’s very unlikely that our government can do anything about that, when you consider that many individuals have religious beliefs that dictate against medical intervention. That’s their right. And I think that society has to respect people’s religious beliefs, whether we as individuals agree or not.

In the meantime, we are bracing for a second wave of Coronavirus that many experts believe will be worse than the first. At the risk of sounding even more depressing, let me say this. More people will die. More people will lose their jobs, and more businesses will be shut down temporarily — or worse yet — be forced to close for good. That is why it’s so very critical — actually it’s paramount — that we as Americans take the proper precautions to help reduce the spread of this virus. Remember when I talked about 2020 being a year of clear vision? The need to follow CDC guidelines and suggestions is crystal clear to me. And I hope it’s clear to many others.

I believe in people’s right to vote for who they wish. And I strongly believe that individuals have a right to their own opinions. Whether we agree or not, is not really the point. It’s still a fact that we have a right to express our own opinion, so long as that opinion is not harmful or slanderous. I’m not writing this to slam those who voted for Donald Trump. And I’m not here to damn those who support him. I’m sure that President Trump has done some good work in certain areas. But my opinion is that he has done plenty to harm our country.

It fries my brain when I think about the way Donald Trump has brushed aside the impact of COVID. He has continually disregarded the dangers involved, by supporting a no-mask theme. He has held numerous super-spreader rallies where the vast majority of attendees are right next to each other, most without masks. I could go on and on — but I won’t. The bottom line is that our nation's leader should not conduct himself in a reckless manner. Our nation’s leader should set the example. I feel like the reckless behavior of some of those in the White House has led to a division in our country. Another example of how 2020 has been a year of clear vision? I think so.

I’m a former police officer. I spent 20 years serving my community, in an effort to help those in need — and to take offenders that prey on children and adults off the street. The image above still bothers me immensely. I was not present during the death of George Floyd. And one thing I learned from my years of service as a police officer is this: unless you are at the scene, you can’t really know all the intimate details of what led to an incident, or what occurred during the incident itself. It’s very easy for any of us to sit back and Monday-morning quarterback. But here’s the thing. Since this article is about my perception of some things-gone-wrong, I’ll share my opinion with you on the death of Mr. Floyd. I believe it was a huge injustice. And I feel like the officer(s) involved acted with reckless abandon at the very least. I believe it was unnecessary for Officer Chauvin to lean on the neck of Mr. Floyd with such force, that it caused death. You can argue that there may have been other factors that contributed to his death. But as an ethical ex-police officer, I don’t believe that it was necessary to use that level of force on a man who was already in custody. And before I put this paragraph to rest, I want to say this. It’s important for the public to realize that the vast majority of police officers are good men and women, who take the job seriously and conduct themselves ethically. There has been a lot of focus on police brutality recently, and it certainly exists. But it’s also important to realize that we don’t see the thousands of good things that officers do each day. There’s an old song by Don Henley of the Eagles called “Dirty Laundry”. Part of the lyrics go like this: “People love it when you lose — they love dirty laundry”. That could not be more true. And that is often what gets the majority of focus. Enough said.

It’s not a news flash that the death of George Floyd has led to countless rioting through much of our country. The image at left is taken from a “demonstration” in Los Angeles. Demonstration. I beg to differ. We have always been a country of demonstration. Peaceful demonstration has been a right of individuals for years, and I hope it remains as such. Did you notice the word “peaceful”? That my friends, is the key. Killing people in the name of justice is not peaceful. Burning down your own city is not peaceful. Robbing and looting businesses is not peaceful. There’s a term called “criminal behavior” — that’s where this type of demonstration fits in. Peaceful demonstration is just that — demonstrating peacefully, without violence. But let’s call this what it is — shall we? This type of behavior is more akin to civil war than peaceful demonstration. It’s always been around, but does that make it right? Can we allow it to become the norm of our nation? I certainly think not.

I’ve spent the last almost-hour writing this piece about clarity; about 2020 being a year of clear vision. Most of it has been rather depressing to absorb. Much of it is not a new concept to some of you. To some it may be. All of that aside, I can tell you this. As Americans, we cannot give up the fight of good versus evil. As Americans, we need more than ever to come together, as a city, as a county, as a state and as a country. We must practice caring and compassion for those around us. After all — we are all here together, cohabiting in the US. Do I have a pie-in-the-sky attitude? Absolutely not. But I still believe in this country, and our ability to get better. To heal from the clarity that is 2020. My hope is that many others see it that way as well.

Thank you for spending time with me today. Stay well!

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