As glad as we all were to see 2020 finally end, it’s fair to say the first couple of weeks of 2021 haven’t been any better.
Bill Cannon, a former colleague of mine during my days with USA TODAY, sent out a tweet on Friday that nicely summed up how many of us probably feel right now.
“Someone needs to write a software patch to the 2021 upgrade,” he wrote. “This thing is buggy as hell.”
Our much-anticipated new year got off to a terrible start with Wednesday’s lawless riot at the U.S. Capitol.
That was a gut punch to our democracy and we’ve not yet begun to understand the long-term implications of it.
We also have no idea why authorities were so unprepared for the violent protests that seemed almost inevitable. Thorough investigation is needed.
There is legitimate concern over what might happen between now and when the Trump presidency officially ends at noon on Inauguration Day, especially now that he has announced he won’t be attending.
Even when Joe Biden is inaugurated as the 46th president on Jan. 20, he and Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris face deep and potentially still dangerous divisions in our nation.
On the COVID-19 front, while there are vaccines being distributed, it is happening at a disappointingly slow pace. Plus, some in the limited groups who are eligible for the vaccines have chosen not to get one.
Post-holidays, the number of new virus cases has returned to being alarmingly high — more than 9,000 new cases per day were reported on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.
Restaurants and gyms have reopened and high school winter sports began at the end of last week.
But most people I know remain reluctant to do anything more than go to a grocery store while wearing a mask and keeping a social distance.
Job losses announced Friday were at their highest level since last April, at 140,000 for December.
Despite all this bad news, though, we are just 10 days into January. It’s too early to give up, isn’t it?.
Perhaps the new 50-50 split in the U.S. Senate will force a little actual bipartisan statesmanship.
Perhaps there can actually be an occasional day when we don’t even think about what Washington leadership is doing or tweeting. (I seem to recall that happening from time to time under both the Bush and Obama administrations.)
Here in the Valley, several businesses have opened and are doing well, even in the face of the pandemic.
Just last week we reported that Pineknotter Brewing Company in Northumberland was named the best new brewery in the state. The brewery, which launched on March 6, is succeeding despite opening during the most difficult time imaginable for the hospitality industry.
We have two new hotels getting close to opening. Valley municipal leaders have largely managed to keep taxes under control, despite pandemic revenue losses.
As our recent Make a Difference series showed, there are many good people here doing many good things. We look forward to telling more of their stories.
So what do you say?
Let’s have a toast to 2021, Version 2.0! It starts today.
Email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.