Seriously, I’ll drop everything for these articles
As the most truncated Thanksgiving in living memory takes its place in history, I suggest we take a few minutes to consider what news we will be grateful for in the please-God-not-too-distant-future. With the COVID surge reaching dire proportions — and we’ve only just begun the holiday season — juxtaposed with the prospect of effective vaccines being rolled out in phases over the next six months, it’s time to peek out from our bunkers at the light coming up over the horizon.
As Jonas Salk (inventor of the polio vaccine) said:
“Hope lies in dreams, in imagination, and in the courage of those who dare to make dreams into reality.”
So let’s dream a little, and cast some seeds into the fertile ground of the future, shall we? Here are the headlines I look forward to seeing:
(1) Clever Uses For Leftover Facemasks
Right now, you’ve got them stashed in your pockets, your purse, your car, and probably shoved into your sofa cushions along with your loose change. At some point, when we can safely reveal our fully naked faces to the fresh air, we’ll need to Marie Kondo our mask wardrobe.
Still, maybe we don’t want to toss them. If this pandemic has taught any of us anything, it’s that another one could crop up at any time. But we’re focusing on hope here, so even if that happens sooner rather than later, we won’t be caught entirely off-guard.
(2) Best Deals on Resorts Waiting to Host Your Family Reunion
The very thought of being able to gather with my relatives under one roof, and be able to hug them, laugh with them, eat with them, and just hang out with them without fear of deadly contagion — well, that just about makes me dizzy with anticipation.
For that, I’d be happy to chip in for a full-on bash, maybe at a nice all-inclusive resort somewhere with mountains or turquoise water or both. Everyone’s invited, even crazy Uncle Grump.
(3) Airlines Boast Record Year, Switch to Sustainable Fuels
It is just possible that at some point in 2021, travel will become a pleasure again instead of a life-threatening ordeal.
Well, modern air travel always has some element of ordeal about it, but by now I find myself longing to stand in line at security. I will cheerfully doff my jacket, my shoes, and my dignity as I reveal the contents of my toiletries bag to one and all! With joy shall I fold myself into the center seat on an overbooked flight, happy to mingle with my fellow post-pandemic passengers as we wing our way toward whatever delightful destination.
And as the airline business roars back to life, ramping up profits, all the more impetus for them to switch to more sustainable biofuels that reduce our carbon footprints to toe-shoe size! Some carriers are already doing this; let’s reward them by booking our next flight across the pond with them.
I don’t know about you, but I can’t wait to dust off my passport.
(4) W.H.O. Announces Pandemic Preparation Program: U.S. Signs On
While we’re hoping, let’s imagine a rational, evidence-based, proactive initiative to prepare and protect the entire globe from another viral eruption. Let’s go even further! Let’s envision true international cooperation in this effort — as though we finally realize that the health, welfare, and prosperity of everyone in the world is interconnected.
Sigh. That feels nice.
(5) “We’re Turning the Corner on Climate Change”: Paris Accord Pays Off
There is a pernicious, unspoken attitude about climate change — i.e., if it’s happening, and we’ve caused it, it’s too late to do anything about it. Unless we want to go back to living in the pre-industrial age.
We don’t have to buy into that defeatist illogic, any more than we have to deny what is so obviously taking place in our own experience (maybe not yours yet, if you’re very, very lucky — but I live in wildfire-ravaged California, and I’m here to tell you, it’s really happening).
Think of a day — and that day could come very soon — when the U.S. reclaims a leadership role in meeting the climate crisis with resolve and ingenuity. Or at least stops getting in the way of progress.
(6) Life Expectancy of People of Color at Record High in the U.S.
If this headline can be written, it means many things:
- big strides in racial justice
- a well-thought, well-informed, and well-funded approach to social outreach, police training, and what is now called “criminal justice”
- a robust, effective, vastly improved system of public education
- access to high-quality, affordable housing
- access to high-quality, equitable health care
- national leadership that derives its credibility from bringing us together instead of creating division
(7) Rise of the Middle Class: Income Disparity Declines for Fifth Straight Year
Just think what our country could look like — and what most people’s daily experience could be like — if the wealth that is now sequestered among so few were more evenly distributed.
No, I’m not suggesting we get out our pitchforks and torches, and I’m all for prosperity. But when the top 0.1% of Americans earn 196 times the bottom 90%, there’s a problem. Nobody works hard enough to be that rich. And nobody that rich will contribute proportionally to the economy in the same way a middle-income earner will. Richie Rich might have ten houses and fifty cars, but even he can’t manage 10,000 houses and 10,000 cars. Even though he could easily afford them.
The economy needs to work for everyone, not just those at the very tippy-top. That is, if we want democracy to continue. Just sayin’.
(8) Why We Don’t Miss the Electoral College
When our ballots really do count the same whether we live in California or Pennsylvania, when the candidate who receives the majority of the popular vote is the undisputed winner, and when the people —not some arcane system of mysteriously appointed electors — choose the President, that will be a good day.
I will applaud that day, even if it’s not my pick who wins.
(9) How Dolly Parton’s “Bridge the Divide” Initiative Changed America
If anyone can do it, she can.