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2020, the terrible year

As we enter the last quarter of 2020 it is impossible not to conclude that it has been a terrible year on a personal, collective and global level. We still cannot predict what will happen in the presidential election on November 3 and how this fateful year that has generated so much pain and anguish will close.

I remember that January of this year was so traumatic for Puerto Ricans, among other things, due to earthquakes from which the southwest of the island has not yet recovered; that the people decided to start from scratch and say goodbye to January as if the year began in February with fireworks and the whole thing.

What we did not know was that just around the corner, in March, the Covid-19 rampage would begin where we still find ourselves. The pandemic continues to plague the entire world, although the United States ranks first in cases, 6 million, and in deaths, 183,000 and counting.

In the midst of the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of people have lost loved ones due to the virus, but also due to other ailments, in many cases poorly attended by quarantines and crises in hospitals.

On a personal level, in this damn year I lost my father to cancer, so that 2020 will remain etched in my mind and in my heart forever, no matter how much I want to erase it when it passes.

But Covid-19 is not only claiming lives. It has left millions of people without work, people who are struggling to support their families in the midst of a situation that, far from improving, is getting worse. The daily news about the fight for unemployment benefits or the wait for extra help that does not arrive is added to the news of all the businesses that have gradually ceased to exist, hurting the economy at all levels.

The economic crisis in turn exacerbates mental health in homes, neighborhoods, cities, in the entire country.

And if we add to that old scourges that have plagued us for decades, such as systematic and institutionalized racism, or police violence, it is not surprising that demonstrations are intensifying across the country.

But one of the central problems in addressing all these crises is the lack of leadership from the White House, based on the irresponsible response of the federal government to the pandemic, which resulted in the death toll being so high.

The historical moment that we are living requires leaders who really care about the welfare of their governed and the nation; leaders capable of feeling empathy for others; leaders who not only want to be in favor with one segment of the population, the Anglo-Saxon, to the detriment of others. Leaders who try to calm the nation and not promote division and exploit all situations politically and in their favor.

Unfortunately, in this terrible year we are governed by a terrible president who continues to do exactly the opposite, and who instead of denouncing violence, favors one side and fosters more tensions. Now he announces that he will go to Kenosha, Wisconsin, the city where the African American Jacob Blake was shot 7 times in the back at the hands of an Anglo-Saxon policeman, leaving him paraplegic, and where a 17-year-old Trump supporter killed two protesters and wounded a third, without the president having made any reference to the incident. What is it going to? To make us believe that he cares what is happening or to stoke the firewood? Or perhaps to sign autographs like he did on the Gulf Coast hit by Hurricane “Laura,” where he suggested they sell them on E-bay for $ 10,000?

And with just over 60 days to the general election, Trump is expected to further foster division because his fear-based campaign is sowing the specter of “fraud” to mobilize his hosts.

I would like to think that a majority longs for change and that this terrible year may surprise us at the start with good news at the polls. I would like.

On November 3 we will know if, for many of us, 2020 ends as resoundingly as it began, or if a door to hope opens.