Upon further reflection and deliberation, my December enthusiasm for scrubbing off the ick of 2020 so as to slip gently into the warmth of 2021 hopefulness was, if not misguided, certainly premature. Indeed, it may have been just plain stupid. In my defense, and perhaps yours as well, the vast majority of our fellow earthlings joined us in this perfectly understandable display of naïveté. At last — although only briefly — unity!

Just 54 days into our rapidly maturing “new” year, it’s apparent 2021 has descended upon us bearing a full complement of its own ick, which ultimately could turn out to be ickier than its pestiferous precursor. Looking into our collective rearview mirror on New Year’s Day, we had reason to fully anticipate watching the COVID virus and its human counterpart, Donald Trump, begin to steadily diminish in their threat and importance as we accelerated into the future. Predictably, reality trumped yearning and both the virus and its orange counterpart have now mutated and continue to do so, much to the detriment of world health and American democracy.

The euphoria over 2020’s Operation Warp Speed that brought several COVID vaccines to market in record time was short lived. The reality of 2021 is that Americans now anxiously await — mostly in vain — a phone call, text message or email confirming they’ve scored an appointment to receive their life-saving COVID vaccination. The ever stealthy virus, however, incessantly bobs, weaves and mutates, rendering itself increasingly impervious to the largely unobtainable vaccines. It’s not unreasonable to posit that Americans have received, or are desperate to receive, vaccines for a virus that has been, or soon will be, subsumed by its more aggressive and lethal siblings. How’s that for ick?

Meanwhile, President Joe Biden and his omnipresent shadow, Vice President Kamala Harris, have been in office 35 days now and their First 100 Days To-Do List is already in frenzied fluctuation. Biden’s Day One focus was not on COVID, but on achieving the national “unity” he promised to pursue in his inaugural address. His first official act of signing an executive order to shut down the Keystone Pipeline, however, left half the country distraught and scratching their heads, especially the 11,000 Americans who now find themselves unemployed as a result of the “moderate” president’s order.

Biden, who relentlessly disparaged the Trump administration’s management of the pandemic throughout 2020, has discovered in 2021 that this president stuff is hard. Sluggish vaccine production and chaotic distribution continue to confound government officials and dismay citizens. Biden’s school reopening plans have been a series of embarrassing moving targets driven primarily by teachers unions’ demands which have infuriated beleaguered parents. Veep Harris’ attempt to clarify the administration’s school reopening objectives in a recent interview on the Today Show was a frustrating, borderline hilarious study in doublespeak, misdirection and obfuscation. On the plus side, growing disappointment over Biden’s COVID response efforts seems to be generating some degree of bipartisan unity, just not the kind Joe had in mind.

Like his viral counterpart, Donald Trump began the New Year continuing to wreak the havoc that marked his presidency in 2020 — only his 2021 strain is havoc on steroids. The jury may still be out on the question of Trump’s psychological stability, but his prolific rants and incendiary rhetoric are evidence that the man occasionally dabbles in bat guano crazy. How else to describe his deliberately wicked diatribe on Jan. 6 before thousands of adoring, enraged Trumpies. Emboldened by Trump’s remarks, a march, mayhem and death followed as the assorted crazies stormed the U.S. Capitol. The rest, as they say, is history; some of the ugliest American history yet recorded.

Trump’s morally justified but constitutionally doomed second impeachment soon followed the Capitol debacle and left in its wake a dumpster of disunity among partisans of every stripe. Republicans, deservedly, are particularly fractured and contentious. But wait, there’s yet more ick: Trump is already laying the groundwork for his run in the next presidential election. Hopefully, by then, he’ll be the only virus we have to deal with.

2022 anyone?

Brent Grimes writes from Damascus and continues to eagerly await vaccination. Contact him at brentongrimes@gmail.com.

(17) comments

gary4books

Just a thought from Dante: “Abandon hope all ye who enter here.”

Not much common ground in this discussion.

shiftless88

I am just thankful to have a President who actually thinks strategically and does not lie every day.

bosco

Quid Pro Joe's pants are on fire. The link will take you to a list of his lies just since he's been president. A little further googling will turn up lists all the way back to his senate days when he bragged about graduating at the top of his class and getting arrested trying to meet Nelson Mandela. You must be so thankful. Yes indeed.

https://thefederalist.com/2021/01/22/heres-the-full-list-of-every-lie-joe-biden-has-told-as-president/

Here's a clue for you shiftless. You can always tell when a politicians are lying - their lips are moving.

phydeaux994

Could you give us the link for Trump’s Lies too??

bosco

[sleeping][sleeping][sleeping][sleeping]

shiftless88

bosco; wait, so NOW you are concerned about whether or not the President tells the truth? When did you decide this was important? November 4?

bosco

What's the matter shiftless, not enjoying your turn in the barrel?

Piedmontgardener

The writer is now emulating Holman Jenkins' tired sophistry badminton game at the WSJ's Editorial Board. He's good at it, as well. But the overarching narrative must always be negative and politically damaging. Or be intended that way. Personally, I'm completely ready to move into a new spring with some higher hopes and I'm feeling that the mode of the country will follow that way. A month without multiple daily disruptions from a Presidential twitter account is a really nice treat.

Hayduke2

Mr. Grimes... Please at least attempt to be factual in your columns. Regarding the XL pipeline, the State Department :

In the report, the agency wrote that 10,400 estimated positions would be for seasonal construction work lasting four to eight-month periods. Since the State Department defines "job" as "one position that is filled for 1 year," that would equate to approximately 3,900 jobs over a two-year period.

In short: Most of the estimated jobs were temporary.

The State Department forecasted that no more than 50 jobs, some of which could be located in Canada, would be required to maintain the pipeline. Thirty-five of them would be permanent, while 15 would be temporary contractors.

Weigh this against the potential of leaks and damage to water supplies, destruction of Native American lands considered sacred, and the fact that this very crude oil will be refined and go to China and foreign markets. Not worth the risk.

fjulia

You are so full of it Mr Grimes. Interesting how you seem to parrot the negative comments made by the 'right' and ignore all the positives said by the actual factual purveyors of the information on the virus, vaccinations, and school re-opening. Also, if you think that the various vaccination plans are flawed and it's Biden's fault, then do you believe there should be a Federal Response that all states and cities must follow? Seems that is what you imply.

threecents

Brent, Glad you finally see what a disaster Trump was and still is, but I think your pessimism about the virus is out of hand. Just one of the vaccines did not do great in one trial, and it does not look to me like the virus is going to mutate around most of the other vaccines. Even the Russian vaccine - which is not an RNA vaccine - is looking like a huge success in real clinical trials, and I think one or two new western vaccines will be approved soon for use in the US, and that will likely be a game-changer with regard to the vaccine shortage, as these new vaccines do not require freezing. Here is a link showing how dramatically new COVID cases are dropping in MD.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/us/maryland-coronavirus-cases.html

pdl603

Trumps morally justified impeachment? The democrats and the press, but I repeat myself, have no morals, so how does that work?

bosco

And the Dimocrats are already trying to hijack the bi-partisan "9/11 Style Commision" to investigate the Capitol riot.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/democrats-seek-control-of-commission-to-study-january-6-attack/ar-BB1dV60u?ocid=msedgdhp

Hayduke2

Hear no evil, see no evil, Republicans vote to acquit.

pdl603

Dukey, it is ok for the democrat backed mob to attack the White House and force its occupant into the bunker. You were ok with that though, right? Your arrogance and hypocrisy has no limits. What did democrats know and when did they know it.

Hayduke2

I assume you are referring to the demonstration outside of the WH where the secret service decided to move DJT to the bunker for about an hour. No attack or trespass took place and they did not attack the WH. Nice try. That said, those crowds were not condoned by any Democrats and I was not okay with it. They were also spontaneous and did not have the President of the United States egging them on. Again, nice try.

public-redux

pdl, There you go, lying about Trump again. He didn’t go to the bunker for any sort of safety reason. He was inspecting it. He said so himself. The way you criticize Trump day after day is disgusting.

Welcome to the discussion.

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