Cars line up at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium for passengers to get COVID-19 testing in 2020. (Photo: John Partipilo)
‘Twas the night before the new year, the last few minutes of 2019 and I had stayed awake way past my bedtime to enjoy my birthday. Trump was freshly impeached, and it felt like an early birthday present. My family and I made plans for all things we would do in the New Year and the places we would visit. Little we knew what was about to be thrown at us.
The New Year started out with a threat of war with Iran, when General Qasem Soleimani was assassinated by our government. The Democratic primaries were gearing up and a lot of airtime was devoted to it. At the time I was busy working to become an Elizabeth Warren delegate from our congressional district and the day she dropped out of the race was a difficult one.
There was no time to slow down as there was a mountain of work ahead. On Friday, March 13, the orders for the first and only lockdown came. What has unfolded in our country and our state since then I wish I could unsee and erase from my memory.
The immense vastness of Republican hypocrisy has impacted harshly the very people who keep voting for them every election cycle. It is heartbreaking to see the death toll from COVID-19 rising and the lines for food and unemployment getting longer. The sad reality is that the majority of the folks in these unfortunate statistics voted against their best interest.
Fall in an election year is the season for campaign mailers. When the Tennessee Republican Party went out of its ethical way to use my name on an attack mailer in a non- partisan mayoral race, people congratulated me: I have arrived.
The GOP relies heavily on low information voters to easily exploit them to vote for folks who deny them healthcare, education & economic opportunities. People do not need handouts: Tennesseans need jobs & healthcare. The GOP has nothing to offer but empty words, hateful dividing rhetoric, and worthless values.
The disconnect of a major political party to reality, math, science, data, and logic is hurting real people and costing lives. Now, the GOP has become the party that won’t accept the results of the presidential election because their candidate lost.
They are willing to sacrifice American democracy to please a wannabe dictator. As someone who has lived under dictatorships, and monarchies, trust me — it is no fun. The ongoing sad and comical effort to manufacture conspiracy theories and create an alternate set of facts might be fitting for a parallel world but that bubble will most certainly burst at some point in time. Enough damage, some of it irreversible in terms of climate change will have been done by the time that happens.
A nation that put a man on the moon must rise to the occasion and put the loser of the election out of the White House. We cannot afford to lose the war on truth and facts. There is a long road and a lot of work ahead of us. I’ve got no time, I’ve got things to do.
All the political drama came to a screeching halt for me when my father suddenly left us to meet his creator on Dec 2. The world froze around me and nothing made sense anymore. What happened next is all a blur. We buried our father in a city in which we did not know a single soul. The only solace is that he is buried in a newly turned blue Maricopa County in the state of Arizona that turned blue for the first time in over seven decades.
This year has taken so much from so many of us. This year is a huge taker. The collective loss of life, the loss of living a normal life, a life without hugs and togetherness has quadrupled the burden of grief.
Dec 24, on Dr. Anthony Fauci’s birthday, we got our first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
As I write these lines I pray that may there never be a year like this for as long as we live.
To all those who have lost loved ones, may you be covered in the blanket of prayers that bring you warmth & comfort. May the memories of those you lost be a blessing.
Take care of yourselves and each other. May you have a wonderful New Year.
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