Yes, 2020 is almost behind us – and many could not be happier. Americans witnessed the fourth year of extraordinary economic growth, followed by a gut-wrenching slide. We experienced the worst pandemic in 100 years, first “lockdowns” in memory. We saw a presidential election twisted beyond recognition by polarization, mail-in ballots, social media censorship, overt media hostility, and widespread testimonials to fraud in our electoral process. What we saw was enough to shake our confidence. We cannot let it do so.
One way or another, we must turn the page – on challenges to personal, professional, and political faith. The year ahead – like every other year – will be defined by two things: Circumstances beyond our control, and resolve to meet them, as necessary head-on.
If we cannot control all, we can control some. We can resolve to be centered, unbent, unbroken, unbowed by forces personal, professional, or political that would distract, dishearten, bend, break, and coopt.
Finding our way through darkness focuses heart and hardens will, returning a soul to basics, clarifying direction, fortifying what needs redefinition – all turning light in time. For some, counter-intuitively, an uplift comes from letting go, recapturing a sense of humor; for others it comes from re-grounding closer to home, simple things.
Sometimes it is not thinking harder but less, learning not to worry as much, but simple doing that improves things. One recalls Yogi Berra, the epic baseball catcher, who once quipped: “How can you think and hit at the same time?” Counter-intuitive, but good point.
In practical terms, individuals, families, and communities should see relief in 2021 – from COVID with vaccines, from economic downturn with reenergized commerce, opportunities, and activities. On the political front, the year will be a challenge – but a time for binding wounds, finding friends, strengthening bonds that help to preserve and defend traditional America.
The year ahead will be new in other ways. As recent Supreme Court decisions suggest, we may see a resurgence of judicial conservatism – favorably affecting interpretations of the First, Second, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, and liberty-centric provisions, if not Roe v. Wade.
Other developments are in the offing. For science-minded, 2021 should launch Hubble’s replacement, the James Webb Space Telescope, allowing us to see distant planets, nebulae, back into cosmic history. A “universal flu vaccine” is around the corner; stems cells may offer answers to neurodegenerative diseases; emerging breakthroughs in carbon sequestration promise offsets for production; new advances in physical, cyber and national security flow from artificial intelligence, nanomaterials, quantum computing.
To this add predicted advances in paralysis reversal, telemedicine, robotics, neuromodulation for addiction, virtual reality for cognitive decline, gene therapy for sickle cell, drug innovations for MS and CF, treatments for Hepatitis C, prostate cancer, migraines, plus autonomous vehicles (maybe), and dual-propulsion drive-trains supporting flying cars (double maybe).
Taken together, the future is exciting – sometimes in good ways, sometimes just fielding the unexpected. That said, Yogi Berra returns. Hoping on baseball 2021, the All-American reveled in the good, reminding us “Life, like baseball, is ninety percent mental, and other half physical.” With Yogi in tow, onward!