2020: A threshold in modern history

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The politics of 2020 will go down in history as some of the most volatile in the early 21st century.

We have faced things we were not in the slightest bit prepared for, we have gasped at the reckless decision making of international leaders, and collectively had some of our darkest demons wrenched from out of the closet. To balance, we can take solace in the fact that our hopes have at times been restored by ground-breaking medical research, admirable leadership, and unparalleled selflessness and sacrifice both individually and collectively.

We can take solace in the fact that our hopes have at times been restored

This year has been a year of both action and inaction, on the micro-and macrocosmic level. Key workers, and the scientific community, have worked tirelessly, whilst everyday citizens have had their freedoms curbed. In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, millions of activists took to the streets, and their social media, to demand radical change. In reaction, the establishment remained supine or, at best, virtual signalled their way through. Catastrophes in other countries, such as the Australian bushfires, the Beirut explosion, and the plight of Uyghur Muslims in China, have reminded us Britons of our geographical privileges. At the same time, our politicians have betrayed our trust, ignored science and acted slowly, resulting in thousands of preventable coronavirus deaths.

Our politicians have betrayed our trust, ignored science and acted slowly

As such, 2020 has felt like a caricature, dream-like, as if we have been living within a Hollywood blockbuster. The pillars that held up our understanding of reality have shown cracks, and many will find it difficult to scaffold the comforts of a business-as-usual mindset any longer.

All things considered, 2020 has been a cathartic experience. Though the fight for social justice and of course the coronavirus pandemic are by no means over, we feel we stand on the edge of a new era: the post-Covid world will undoubtedly be different to that which preceded it; Trump has been ousted, and Biden promises to herald in a more sensitive era of politics; Britain has finally left the European Union after a muddy five-year-long process, that has left us fractured and bruised. For many, these flashpoints are signs of progress, for others, they are symbols of decay (or at least a continued struggle). Nevertheless, for better or worse, they constitute monumental change.

The post-Covid world will undoubtedly be different to that which preceded it

We have reached another threshold in history, a year that will be studied intently in future, and like every open door, this promises both excitement and trepidation. We cannot breathe a sigh of relief just yet.

Image by davidyuweb via Creative Commons

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