At the winter solstice, when cold, dark nights are the longest, comes a season of hope. After what seems an eternity of dark and cold, there are reasons for Americans to embrace the sensation.
Vaccines against COVID-19, the coronavirus that has driven most people at least somewhat into isolation, are going into arms across the country. Scientists around the world broke research-sharing boundaries. Philanthropists, private companies and governments opened wallets. Trials included all races and ages. Success came in record time just a year since the world first learned about the virus last December.
Of course, the voices of misinformation and conspiracy have not gone silent. Conspiracists calling themselves America’s Frontline Doctors are currently pushing the lie that the vaccine is a medical experiment being tested on black people. Campaigns are ramping up to counter these and other public fears of vaccination.
Life is not likely to return to something like normal quickly. The grip of COVID-19 will not loosen for months. However, an end to the pandemic is a realistic hope because the resources of national governments enhanced by the massive support of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation can ensure that the good cheer of a vaccine will reach the entire world.
The Grinch is sulking on his mountaintop, grousing about the approaching reappearance of a steady, experienced and competent president. The sulk is another sign of hope.
President-elect Joe Biden’s picks for federal agency and White House advisory leaders skew more center than left, more old than young, but experience is the best hope for a course correction. Change cannot be the first item on the menu when the restaurant is on fire.
Janet Yellen, tapped as Secretary of the Treasury, brings vast experience in how monetary and fiscal policy can help or hurt an economy that is riding the pandemic shockwaves. The people named to oversee America’s intelligence and national security operations can hit the ground running.
Given that Russia has hacked critical government databases, that it has been U.S. immigration practice to permanently rip children from their families and that the economy teeters between functioning and depression, Americans need assurance that we will be OK. Biden’s picks are a good counter to the stall, hamper and delay tactics of this year’s transition from one president to the next.
Americans can take comfort and find hope in the coming end of the pandemic and the emergence of experienced and steady hands to lead the economy out of it. It is enough to make this year’s holiday season quietly merry. Enjoy.
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