When I was a talk show host back in the day, I used to relish the week between Christmas and New Year’s. That was the week that all of the “Best of” lists came out…and I loved them. Of course, we’d do our own as well, but it was always fun to come up with them. So, in that spirit, let’s visit the top ten stories of 2020, as I saw them.
10. SPACEX Returns US To Space! Imagine what would have happened back in the 1960’s when John F. Kennedy told Americans that we will go to the moon…and a private company will be the one to do it! No NASA, no federal government involvement, just private enterprises! The would would have gone crazy! But this year, SpaceX successfully launched American astronauts to the International Space Station, and then returned the re-usable rockets to boats sitting in the ocean, where they landed softly. It was an incredible feat!
9. #MeToo/Harvey Weinstein. The whole #MeToo movement kicked off with a flurry as sexual abuse allegations tore through several industries. Entertainment mogul Harvey Weinstein was front and center as many different actresses came forward to accuse him of sexually abusing them. Ah, but once Weinstein and a few others were thrown under the bus, the whole movement seemed to come crashing down when Tara Reade accused Joe Biden of illicit sexual dalliances. All of a sudden, the call that “women should be believed” was dropped, and the #MeToo movement jumped off the front page.
8. Black Lives Matter. It was a radical leftist group co-founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi back in 2013 after the Trayvon Martin murder. It really didn’t come into prominence for a year or so, but burst onto the scene this year after the death of George Floyd. It’s been bandied about by both the NBA and WNBA, and several other athletic organizations. But along with the protests, it gained negative prominence as it, along with Antifa was discredited as starting riots in several American cities.
7. Big Tech’s Implosion. This one probably should wait a year, when it will be higher up on the list, but the damage to the reputation of Big Tech has already been done. Companies like Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, and Alphabet/Google have come under fire for biased reporting, one-sided terms of service during the presidential election and the aftermath, and now anti-trust lawsuits that either have been or will be filed by the Department of Justice. At the crux of the problem is whether or not Congress will remove Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996 which exempted Big Tech from prosecution from third party publishers that post on their sites.
6. Ruth Bader Ginsburg/Amy Coney Barrett. The death of Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg had been a long time coming. She had been asked to step down during the Obama administration several times so that her seat could remain a liberal seat. Instead, Donald Trump appointed Amy Coney Barrett, an avowed conservative to replace RBG, and that set off a firestorm on Capitol Hill. Democrats howled that an appointment shouldn’t take place so close to an election, though there’s nothing in the Constitution that says it needs to wait. In the end, the high court went from 5-4 conservative (if you’re still counting John Roberts as a conservative), to 6-3.
5. Trump Impeachment and Acquittal You would think that the impeachment of a sitting US President…only the third time in our country’s history, would merit a higher place on the list than this! But it was actually a foregone conclusion that a) Democrats in the House of Representatives were damned determine to find SOMETHING to impeach Trump over so they could call his presidency “illegitimate”, and that b) the US Senate wasn’t going to come anywhere close to convicting him. It was a circus to be sure, and it played out just like everyone thought it would. In the end, we learned that Democrats who hid behind closed doors in finding their witnesses couldn’t come close to getting Trump on “Russian collusion” because all of the witnesses had lied to the media. Instead, they opted to go for a “quid pro quo” telephone call, which was basically the same type of thing Joe Biden bragged about doing in a taped appearance.
4. Russian Hacking Of US Government. It was a late arrival onto the top ten list, but was one of the more important stories of the year simply because of the size and breadth of the hacking. Russia apparently hacked into several branches of the US government through a program called “Orion”, and the company Solar Winds. The program received an update, and unbeknownst to the folks at Solar Winds, Russian hackers put a “backdoor” into the update so they could infiltrate anyone that updated their software with the new version. It went to companies world-wide.
3. COVID Vaccine. Donald Trump bragged throughout the entire COVID-19 pandemic that we would probably have a vaccine around the point of the election, but certainly before the end of the year. Something of that magnitude had never been accomplished in human history. But Pfizer was the first to hit the markets, and Moderna followed shortly thereafter. Yes, there have been a few scattered cases of people fainting or going into anaphylactic shock after having received the vaccine, but the instances have been few and far between. Now we have to wait and see whether or not the vaccine actually does work, or whether COVID is going to mutate into something the vaccine doesn’t cover.
2. The Election Of Joe Biden. To be honest, I was surprised at this one. I didn’t think you could get elected hiding in your basement. But Biden proved me wrong winning the election by 76 Electoral College votes and over seven million popular votes. Yes, there were calls that the election was fixed, and there were enough fraudulent votes counted to overturn the election, but no one has been able to convince any court in the country of that. And on January 20th at 12 noon, EST, Joseph Robinette Biden will become the 46th President of the United States. As was the case with his predecessor, it won’t be without controversy, as the whole Hunter Biden thing will be hanging over his head.
- COVID-19. Can you think of a story that reached every single American, in fact every single person in the world this past year? This was it. It changed our lives, certainly for 2020, and who knows how far into the future? At some point, these viruses do die down, but as we learned with the world-wide Spanish flu pandemic of 1918/1919, these things take their toll. 100 years ago, that flu resulted in 500 million cases and 50 million deaths world wide. So far this year (as I write this… and the numbers change daily), 77 million cases have been reported world-wide, and there have been 1.7 million deaths, far less than the Spanish flu pandemic. But one thing is for sure… it changed our lives, if not forever, certainly for the foreseeable future!
Carry on world…you’re dismissed!