2020: The Craziest Year of Our Lives

Kate Wiggins, Features Editor

   For most, the year of 2020 will forever go down as one of the most traumatic, exhausting, and chaotic years that recent generations will have experienced. A global pandemic, a call for racial and social justice reform, and a polarizing election were just a few things 2020 brought to the plate. Although not everything could possibly fit, here is a recap of  some of the most important events that happened in this whirlwind of a year.

   One of the biggest impacts of 2020 was the fast-spreading COVID-19 virus. It continues to rage, currently reaching 91 million cases with almost two million deaths worldwide, and 22 million cases with 380 thousand deaths in the United States alone. In March, the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, due to the rapid speed of positive cases and deaths. As a result, we have had to completely change the way that we live our lives. Almost all school districts and universities in the U.S. have moved to online learning, people started to work from home, and masks are required when in public places, along with social distancing. COVID-19 especially hit small business and restaurants hard, forcing them to shut down or modify their services due to state regulations (coronavirus.jhu.edu).

   A powerful social and racial justice reform backed by Black Lives Matter took the U.S. by storm, with protests taking place in almost all 50 states. Prompted by the killing of unarmed or innocent Black people by police, such as Breonna Taylor and Geroge Floyd, a call for justice was made clear. On June 6, nearly half a million people gathered in over 500 different cities to protest — and that was only a single day in over a month of protests. Many protests resulted in fires, looting, and protesters being maced and in some cases detained, according to The New York Times (nytimes.com). 

   With the 2020 election, mass complications in the political world arose, though that was not all that happened in the world of American politics. In January, the House voted to impeach President Donald Trump for the abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, but he was then acquitted by the Senate later in February, preventing his removal from office. The run for the Democratic Presidential Nominee started with many competitors, but included Front Runners Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Michael Bloomberg, and now President-Elect Joe Biden. In November, Biden was the projected winner, and was officially confirmed in December, winning over key swing states for electoral college votes. However, Trump and his supporters claimed the election was rigged and called for recounts in multiple states  (latimes.com). 

  Unfortunately, the world lost several notable public figures in 2020. NBA Legend Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gigi, along with six others, died in a helicopter crash in January. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg passed away in September, after serving 27 years on the Court. Jeopardy! Host Alex Trebek passed away in November after an ongoing battle with stage-four pancreatic cancer. 

  To end things on a happier note, we can’t ignore some of the not-so-bad things that actually came out of 2020. Parasite was the first foregin language film to win the Best Picture award, along with  Director Bong Joon-Ho, who took home three Oscars himself (huffpost.com). The 2020 elections had the highest voter turnout at almost 160 million, the highest in U.S. history (time.com). The environment is benefitting because of the pandemic and stay-at-home orders: carbon levels in the U.S. have dropped down by ten percent (cnn.com). 

   2020 allowed us to really take time and appreciate the things we have and the people around us. Senior Riley Torgeson shared, “Not being around people as much from quarantine made me focus more on myself. Trying to shine light on the good things in my life that brought joy to me was especially important in 2020 because of how many devastating things were happening.  I hope in 2021 people will be more empathetic and sensitive to others.”

   As much as 2020 faced us with multiple challenges, this is a new year! Make the best of it and hope that we’ll have a better run this time around.