What a Year! Let’s Move On to 2021
Debra Schrishuhn for the PDA National Team
In January 2020, a U.S. airstrike assassinated Iran’s military leader, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, heightening fears of a new U.S.-Iran military conflict. Impeached President Trump, awaiting a mock trial in the U.S. Senate, announced his Israeli-biased Middle East “peace plan,” effectively burying hopes for a Palestinian homeland.
Natural disasters exacerbated by climate change reverberated around the world: Australian bush fires of extreme intensity and duration destroyed an area the size of Greece, killing 33 people and a billion animals; East Africa faced its worst locust plague in 70 years; downpours caused the worst flooding and mudslides in Jakarta, Indonesia, in over 150 years; a deadly Himalayan avalanche, brought about by the heaviest snowfall in a century, killed more than 100 people.
And news was trickling out of China about a new viral outbreak. By the end of January, it had spread to 25 countries, mostly in Asia, killing 213 people, and infecting nearly 10,000 in one month.
The rest of 2020 made January seem like Glory Days. Briefly, the U.S. is alternately threatening and trying to de-escalate U.S.-Iranian tension while the President and his allies continue their attempts to overturn the U.S. presidential election.
Prospects for any lasting Israeli-Palestinian peace remain dim. The Atlantic hurricane season was the most active on record, and wildfires devastated the American West and shrouded skies as far as Europe with particulate haze. Continual police killings of unarmed Black people sparked the largest unrest in the U.S. in decades.
The full-blown pandemic has taken over 1.8M lives worldwide (including 341K Americans), caused economic havoc, and reshaped the world’s cultural and social fabric. Vaccines have been developed in record time, but the U.S. rollout is marred by the same leadership vacuum that allowed the U.S. to become the world’s hardest-hit country.
All year, PDA has been furiously engaged in opposing wanton militarism, holding complicit Republican office-holders and complacent Democrats accountable, sounding the alarm on the climate crisis, standing up for racial and economic justice, educating lawmakers and voters on critical issues, and organizing grassroots action around the country.
We are so relieved that 2020 is almost over. We look forward to reversing the damage of the Trump administration, electing more progressives to Congress, and bringing about positive change in 2021.
It won’t be easy. Change won’t happen quickly, but PDA will continue to be on the front line, working for all of us. We take this moment to thank you for being there with us, for all your work and support, and we wish you and yours a safe and healthy New Year.
For the memory of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, all the victims of COVID-19, and those in need, we remain dedicated to our mission, turning hope into reality,