2020. As in 20/20 at the eye doctor, which means “clear vision.”
I think 2020 accomplished this, even as we lost so much.
We all felt loss this year. Even those of us fortunate to be healthy and not in economic peril at this time have lost something – maybe as minimal as the freedom to travel as we wish.
But so many lost much more. Their livelihood or even their lives.
The Covid pandemic brought us a clear vision – we can now see very clearly the inequalities in our country. The health inequities are glaring – we have now all gotten to see how the pandemic has been so much worse in areas where people can literally not be 6 feet apart due to housing constraints. Where people at a socioeconomic disadvantage have spent their lives under stress (actually since before birth), they are now suffering worse health outcomes during the pandemic.
The election brought us a clear vision – this is a country divided. I generally avoid politics with my patients. We are all entitled to our beliefs and our preferences. However, people of conscience can no longer stay quiet in the face of policies that protect white privilege and perpetuate systemic racism. *Almost* half of the American voters voted in favor of an administration that would see systemic racism perpetuated further (and that in fact did a great deal to keep systemic racism in place, including a historic number of judges appointed during the last 4 years).
The video of the murder of George Floyd – and the protests that ensued – brought us clear vision. Who is the “us” in this sentence? Mainly white people. People of color have already long been very clear about racism in America. I as a white person had to wake up this year. Why now? Activist and author Kimberly Jones gave the best answer I have heard in this video with Trevor Noah in June. What I got from her is that basically those of us who are white in America have just been too busy with our lives to notice how bad it is for people of color in America; now with the pandemic shut-down we have simply had less distraction from seeing this reality.
The video I am sharing below is a funny recap of this year we are ending. The racial justice protests are missing from it; apart from this realization, it made me laugh out loud several times.
If you have read this far, thank you for sticking with it.
Starting 2021 with a Covid vaccine is good. I have hope for the world and the U.S. to do a better job managing the pandemic. I have big plans to bring more and more value to those I serve as a doctor.
My team and my family and I wish you a safe and healthy New Year’s celebration.
However 2020 went for you, I wish for 2021 to be better.
In Spanish we say, “Borron, y cuenta nueva.
“More or less this means, “Erase what has happened up to now, and we start fresh with a new account.”