NewsMax – Pat Buchanan
Who could have predicted how dreadful a year 2020 would be.
By this New Year’s Eve, 19 million to 20 million Americans will have contracted a deadly virus in a pandemic that exploded out of China to carry off 333,000 Americans, one of every 1,000 of us.
As 2021 begins, Americans will be dying at the rate of 10,000 a week and contracting the virus at a rate of more than 1 million new cases a week.
Yet, during that same year, miracles occurred.
Vaccines were created, tested and mass-produced by Pfizer and Moderna that could, with 95% effectiveness, stop this virus cold.
If Americans can reach “herd immunity” — from having caught and survived the virus or having been vaccinated against it — the COVID-19 pandemic might be contained by the summer of 2021.
Economically, the pandemic caused the worst crash since the Great Depression with scores of thousands of schools closed and empty, and scores of thousands of stores, bars and restaurants shuttered, many never to open again.
Yet, in the same year, the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke every record, crossing the 30,000 mark, again and again, with the NASDAQ and S&P 500 reaching new highs.
Thus, as tens of millions of Americans saw their savings wiped out and had trouble making rent payments and feeding their families, some investors saw their stock portfolios surge.
Yes, Virginia, there are two Americas.
On Memorial Day weekend, a white police officer in Minneapolis was taped kneeling for nine minutes on the neck of a Black suspect.
Hours later, George Floyd would die, and his death would trigger protests against police brutality that quickly degenerated into radical and racial rioting unseen since the 1960s.
The arson, looting and attacks on police caused a backlash that spread across the country when the demands of antifa and Black Lives Matter suddenly became, “Defund the Police!” That anti-cop slogan did for law enforcement reform what rioters’ cries of “Burn, baby, burn!” did for the civil rights movement in the 1960s.
By the time the fires burned out, Middle America was recoiling against the left for indulging the anarchists and denouncing Democratic leaders who refused to condemn the rioting.
Still, despite the pandemic, the third of a million dead, the crash and the seemingly endless riots, President Donald Trump won 74 million votes, the largest total of any president in history. And he held the Senate for the Republicans and added more than a dozen seats in the House.
Yet, Joe Biden, who would be crushed in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary and lose Nevada to Bernie Sanders, would be rescued by a massive Black turnout in South Carolina. Revived, he would go on to win the Democratic nomination on the first ballot.
Sheltering in his basement through the fall, Biden would run up a 7 million-vote victory over Donald Trump, though his verbal and mental deterioration was almost painfully obvious in his few public appearances.
Another wake-up call to how polarized we are came with an orgy of icon-smashing of statues and monuments, from Columbus to presidents Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson.