Alyson Chadwick

Writer・Editor・Strategist・Comedian・Activist

A look back at the year that was 2021

2021 sucked as much as 2020

Before we all leave 2021 behind, it is good to reflect on everything that happened

For a lot of reasons, the last few years have sucked. In February 2020, I did a great show in Greenwich Village (at the Greenwich Village Comedy Club) and thought This is going to be my year! Three weeks later, everything in New York shut down and 2020 was no one’s year. Unless you count Covid 19, it was its year.

Things seemed to be looking up at the start of 2021. Joe Biden would be coming into the White House and Donald Trump would be leaving. There were a number of covid vaccines about to be approved. Sanity had prevailed and maybe the pandemic would end.

On January 6, pro-Trumpers rioted on the mall and stormed the capitol building. No one could have known at the time that the year was going to be decided that day. Chuck Todd once called the era we are living in the “post facts” era. He was right. Trump supporters believe that he won the election. One told me Trump received 81 million votes (that was Biden’s number). I have no idea what right-wing site he was reading but when I pointed him to the Federal Election Commission (FEC), he told me that the FEC is a leftie organization and couldn’t be trusted.

Justice made a comeback this year

There were some really good things that happened. Police officers Derek Chauvin and Kim Potter were convicted. I was surprised in both instances as cops in the past have gotten off when they kill people. The men who stalked Ahmaud Arbery and killed him were convicted. Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s second in command, was convicted. R. Kelly was convicted.

These convictions don’t undo the wrongs committed. George Floyd and Arbery are still dead. The women and girls tormented by Maxwell and Kelly still have to live with what happened but it is a start.

George W. Bush was right about pandemics

How often do I tout things Dubya said? Rarely.

If we wait for a pandemic to appear, it will be too late to prepare.

George W. Bush in 2005

In 2005, Dubywa went on vacation and read John M. Barry’s The Great Influenza. He was so taken by the book and its message that he set up the office of pandemic preparedness in the White House (Trump effectively closed it down when he moved in). Bush saw the message of the book wasn’t “the 1918 flu was really bad” but that pandemics can happen anytime. I know people who blame the Chinese government for the current pandemic. While they are not blameless, this was a long time coming.

Back in 2006, I started worrying about bird flu. It wasn’t until 2013 that I blogged about it. I have read The Great Influenza and other books about deadly flu outbreaks. Most start in Asia. A pig can harbor a bird and a human virus at the same time. Viruses in pigs can mutate and now you have a deadly flu that can infect people. This is what scientists think happened in 1918 flu (if you are wondering why it was called the “Spanish Flu,” that is because this was during WWI and media outlets were banned from reporting on the disease everywhere but in Spain).

So things started opening up in the spring and then the Delta variant hit. I was vaccinated in April/May. By the fall, I thought things for vaccinated people were looking up. Then Omicron hit and the world started shrinking again. Now I had to cancel an event I was planning for Paul Rusesabagina. I am very sad about that.

We made progress against genocide in 2021

It is easy to only see the bad things that happen. In December, I delivered some petitions to Harry Winston asking the jeweler to stop sourcing #GenocideGems from Myanmar. Ten minutes after we left, they announced they would do just that. In February, Kirin Beer ended its relationship with the Myanmar military.

A few weeks ago, President Biden signed the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act into law. There are good reasons to think Secretary Blinken will declare what has happened to the Rohingya is a genocide. Gainesville, Florida passed an anti-genocide resolution. We are working with other localities and cities to get more of these passed. No government should profit from or fund genocide.

So, by 2021. I really hope 2022 is better.

PS. You can still lower your tax bill for 2021 AND help me fight genocide by donating to this.