Who can predict what comes next?
By Matthew Fraser, Opinions Editor
One day a millennial will tell a “back in my day” story so outrageous few will believe it happened; this summer alone has been so chaotic that many forgot there was supposed to be an Olympic game. Celebrities died, elections were held, and the world kept spinning on its strange and unhinged axis. But it’s almost over now—the year that is. How can something so spectacular and erratic come to an end? Surely not without further bangs, whoops, and pageantry; and a divination of the future is impossible given the state of last week’s events alone. Who could have predicted the septuagenarian US President getting coronavirus a month before the election and then recovering in a little under a week—and that event drowning out a conflict between countries? Try as one might, virtually no prediction will do justice to whatever the next two months of 2020 will bring.
In its own weird way, America has stolen the spotlight from the rest of the world and made 2020 a story with one main character and a supporting cast of millions. With a virus that needs no introduction running rampant and almost felling the sitting president, the politics front of America is in a sad state. A recent article in Politico found that about 40 percent of Americans from both political sides think violence may be justified if their candidate does not win the election. This is the very picture of a failed democracy; when potentially millions of people feel that their political opinion is of such importance that they would deprive their compatriots of safety if their side lost the election, a country is headed past extremism to a place of doom. Without firm leadership and a principled revaluation of what it collectively means to live together, the type of violence that happened in Kenosha and Portland might become the regular as it erupts in every corner of a further embattled country. And with polls showing leads as high as 16 points in favor of Joe Biden according to CNN—granted similar polls also predicted Hillary’s win—while the sitting president has stated that the only way Democrats will win is with a “rigged election,” I think a disaster looms in the weeks (if not days) following the November election.
Concomitant to the disruptions of America, the rest of planet earth saw unsettling steps towards interstate war. Armenia and Azerbaijan began exchanging gunfire and artillery in a conflict that has so far claimed 300 lives, according to CBS News. The short conflict in May between China and India also sent ripples of fear into an already tense news cycle. In fact, the Chinese government’s dreams of control are present in its Hong Kong crackdowns and the flagrant intimidation tactics against Taiwan. It’s almost surreal to be doing classes online and be protected by four walls while the world shivers and contorts through horrors and paroxysms. Once again, leadership and a healthy respect for self determination needs to flower in the world at large. The leadership that reigned coronavirus in around the globe must now orient itself towards controlling the power grabs and hegemonic dreams that motivate state conflicts. Not only that, but the people themselves need to make clear to their governments how distasteful furthering state interest of oppression is to them.
No one could have predicted this year, so predicting the end of it is all together futile. Still, if one thing is certain, 2020 will not end quietly and easily.