Column — What will 2021 look like?
For months now, everywhere I have gone, people have been saying, “I can’t wait until 2020 is over.”
With all that has occurred in the world, all of us have been stressed out by not only the COVID-19 virus and the daily news about it, but riots in our cities as well, and politics in a deeply divided country. Six months ago, we thought it couldn’t get worse, it has to be better in 2021. Now we will see.
For those of faith, we are taught that things will always be better. We tend to put the bad and evil behind us and focus on the good that will come. At the same time, others look backward and try to project the path we are on into the future. Considering where we have been for most of the last year, that path is not an optimistic one.
Vice President Biden has expressed his belief that our darkest days are still before us. Compare that to our current President who has tried to keep people in a positive mood despite what we hear about all around us. Two very different ways to look at our current situation. As with a half glass of water, one sees it as half empty, the other as half full. Neither is wrong.
A president’s role is to lead, and I believe that a positive view gives all hope. One need only to reflect back to the era of Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan. Carter projected the feeling that woe is us. We were losing influence in the world because of fuel shortages and American citizens held in Iran. Reagan changed the nation’s attitude by referring to the shining city upon a hill and the idea of peace through strength.
Having written that, I am trying to enter the New Year with a positive frame of mind. There are challenges that we will have to overcome no matter what.
COVID-19 is still with us, and infections are growing exponentially. The vaccine is now available to those most at risk and should be available to all by the summer. The first focus has been with health care workers. This week, in Virginia, the focus will be on those in nursing homes where 40% of the deaths have occurred.
There have been questions in other states, and in Virginia, as to the proper way to approach the vaccination process. Should priorities be based on race or age? Some states were better prepared for the vaccines and established their process and priorities before the vaccine arrived. Other states, probably believing that the vaccine talk was too optimistic, didn’t work out the details as well. For example, as of last week, West Virginia had vaccinated 2% of their population, while Virginia had vaccinated people at only one-fourth of that rate.
In politics, this week will determine where our nation is going. Elections in Georgia will determine if we have one party in control in Washington. As we have seen in Virginia, one party control allows for excesses that the public often is uncomfortable with. In Richmond, the question is simple — can the Republicans keep the governor, along with the House and Senate majorities, from totally erasing our history and business-friendly environment that is so important for the attraction of employers who provide jobs for our citizens?
In summation, I hope that we can all have faith for a brighter future despite today’s challenges.
Frank Ruff Jr. serves as the 15th District senator in Virginia. He can be reached at Sen.Ruff@verizon.net, (434) 374-5129 or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.