In A Year Like None Other

John Haimowitz, Reporter

The chaotic theme to 2020 began on January 16th, when President Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial was first brought before the Judiciary Committee. He would later be acquitted on February 5th, almost three weeks after the first hearing. COVID-19, a novel respiratory disease, had just been detected in Japan, making it only the second confirmed case in a different country outside of the epicenter in Wuhan, China.

Ten days later, former Los Angeles Lakers basketball star and beloved human inside and outside the sport, Kobe Bryant, passed away in a helicopter crash in the hills near Los Angeles along with ten other people. The nation was rocked with the news of his passing, as people tried to piece together how someone who seemed so invincible, could suffer in such a tragedy.

The event that took place on January 16th seemed to be the ‘straw that broke the camel’s back, for what was to follow in the coming eleven months of the year, has led to 2020 being deemed the ‘worst year ever.’

COVID-19 began to make its presence known in the United States, with the first confirmed death appearing on March 3rd. As for a global count, by March 3rd, the total case number sat at 2,228. This number would continue to rise, as the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the rapid outbreak of COVID-19 a ‘global pandemic’ on March 11th.

By the middle of March, most elementary schools, high schools, and universities in the United States were forced to make the decision of sending their students home to finish the semester virtually. This move came as part of an initiative to slow the spread of the virus, allowing students to shelter in place and still receive their education.

This stage of the year, from around March 11th to the middle of summer, has been referred to as ‘the first quarantine.’ Time seemed to move at a slower pace than before, businesses began to struggle all around the nation, toilet paper sales were at an all-time high and this was only the beginning.

May 25th: a video taken from the phone of a bystander in Minnesota went viral, showing a police officer named Derek Chauvin anchoring his knee atop George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man, as he pleaded for air. The video sparked outrage all throughout the country, reminding its citizens that the issue of police brutality was still prevalent in todays society.

On May 29th, now former Minneapolis police officer, Derek Chauvin was finally arrested. In the four days it took to indict Chauvin for charges of third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, hundreds of thousands took to the streets in major cities all around the country, protesting and marching in remembrance of Floyd.

On the same day (May 29th), President Donald Trump tweeted a famous line used by a Miami police chief, infamous for racist patrolling tactics: “…when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” These words ignited a feeling of angst and anger, as the people of the United States read the threatening words made to them by their President via Twitter.

In the days to come, some protests in major U.S. cities such as Atlanta and New York became riots. The famous quote by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “A riot is the language of the unheard,” rang true as those who had been silenced for so long due to unbearable nightmare of  police brutality were trying to find any way to make their voices heard.

The movement reflected events that took place in the 1960’s, as the tireless protesting could almost be seen as a second coming of the Civil Rights Movement. People demanded justice and were willing to sacrifice their lives on the streets in order to make a change.

By mid-summer, daily case numbers were averaging around 61,195 per day. In certain states with less cases and fewer at-risk hotspots were beginning to head back to school and university in the fall. The NHL, MLB, and NBA began to return to their previously delayed seasons with extreme safety measures put in place amidst growing concern around the virus.

The campaign trail was beginning to heat up as Election Day was fast approaching. In the coming months, extreme divide between Republican and Democratic parties created even more anticipation for one of the biggest elections in modern history. President Trump began holding large rallies without any social distancing measure, and none with a mask or face-covering requirement.

By election day, the coals were hot. According to Bloomberg, a record 161 million voters in total turned out for the 2020 election. News networks such as FOX, MSNBC, CNN and others did not offer their call for a winner until November 7th. While states are going through the process of certifying the results of the election, President Trump has been stirring the pot, causing political turmoil.

Trump and his administration are calling the 2020 Election fraudulent, filing multiple lawsuits in different battleground states that they feel undermined a long-standing, secure democratic process. His supporters have hit the streets, holding MAGA (Make America Great Again) Pride Parades, while eating up his words on an election that was ‘stolen’ from him.

With twenty days left in the calendar year, 2020 has proven that anything can happen at any given time. Will 2021 be an escape from the longest year of everyone’s lives?