By CJ Flucker, a renaissance man, equal parts substance & style, living a life of politics and prose in Washington, DC.
With great enthusiasm, we welcomed the year 2020. We were hopeful and optimistic about the future, celebrating the symbolic meaning of the number that, in another context, signals clear and sharp vision. So many of us wanted that for our lives. A clearer, sharper vision of ourselves and the world around us.
Fortunately 2020 has delivered, but unfortunately it has left many gravely disappointed. The health pandemic has given us a clearer view of our society as well as the faults in the systems on which it rests. It has brought the health disparities among Black, Latinx and Indigenous people into sharper focus. It has shown us how the straight lines to government financial support for large corporations in no way mirror the curves, loops and dead ends that small and minority businesses face when needing federal assistance. It has made more obvious the massive wealth and earnings gap between our nation’s richest and poorest citizens. And perhaps most significant is that it has illustrated that the definition and image of an ‘essential worker’ stand in sharp contrast to those who actually keep America running. Those with jobs in offices have found that rigid policies and barriers to working from home have suddenly disappeared. In education, the gaping digital divide that has plagued us for decades is on full display as students and teachers work to pull off distance learning under some of the most unreliable and unprepared circumstances not of their own. Likewise, it has shown us that housing is healthcare and that overpopulated prisons are a threat to population health.
And then there are the murders of unarmed, innocent and sleeping Black people. We have seen the videos, read the articles and shared the tweets. We have witnessed the ugly face of racism rear not just its head, but its bare full ignorant, violent and furious body. As a result, people are rising in protest. Praying, chanting, marching, dancing, and some even setting the streets ablaze. The most passionate ones are no longer able to contain their anger and frustration about not being seen. Through their actions, they are demanding that the world see and hear them.
This may not be the vision that we’d hoped for this year, but it is the one we were given. We should not waste this opportunity by just looking away from things that frighten us and make us uncomfortable. 2020 has revealed many of the deep-seated and structural issues that must be addressed in our government, media, churches and homes. And, if you look in the mirror, I am willing to bet that some things inside of you are more apparent to you now and you realize there are some things you need to change too.
I invite you to look at what this year has shown us. Don’t put on your rose-colored glasses or try to view it through a filtered lens. Don’t turn your head away from it because it is so painful, unjust or ugly. Don’t attempt to find a temporary fix for your sight. Really examine yourself, your relationships and your community. Change whatever is not pleasing to your eyes. Create a new vision for society and for yourself and work toward it.