I’m not much one for politics, sports, celebrities, news––my mind tends to retreat upon such topics. I’d rather occupy myself with a fictional world than brush up on what’s going on in the real world at the moment. I’d rather be writing a sci-fi novel or watching anime than finally looking up the names of the presidential candidates for the 2020 election or watching people put their lives at risk over a ball and call it sport where the commercials have more screen time than the game itself. I realize there are pros and cons to this, but the fact is, unless it’s history, I’m not a fan of reality.
And then, as luck would have it, 2020 happened. Australia went up in flames. Kobe Bryant died, I think. Then COVID-19 claimed all the attention. One month in, and I foolishly entertained the idea of it being a mere local sickness that originated in Corona, a city near my school (aptly named to accomodate my sorry theory formed from lack of information). Of course by the time my school gently pushed us off campus and moved everything online, I was thinking differently. I didn’t like quarantine and I think very few people were. I started paying more attention to news, local and worldwide. People couldn’t stop talking and arguing about theories surrounding the virus: Is COVID an actual disease, is it a government fabrication to cover up something else, is quarantine really helping, etc. etc. I had to pay attention; there was a pandemic that, as it seemed, scared the government enough to force house arrest. Toilet paper scarcity was definitely noticeable. One day, the order to wear masks when out in public was issued and I had no idea of it until I got home and realized the reason for the weird looks I’d received in the grocery store. Plus, 85% of memes were COVID and quarantine related, so as you can imagine, this was all very hard to ignore.
As soon as the hype surrounding COVID started showing signs of dying down, looting and rioting and protests and Black Lives Matter threw an even greater wrench in things for the nation. If lockdown wasn’t enough, even more businesses were lost to the gangs of ruffians who were probably honestly just too restless being cooped up by the government and saw harm and destruction as a remedy. Many cities employed a curfew on top of the quarantine. People now stayed home not just because of the virus, but for fear of their lives due to discriminatory violence.
It’s in jokes, it’s in memes, and it’s in day-to-day conversations. 2020 is the greatest curveball the world has been on the receiving end of in quite a while. Things are happening worldwide that aren’t just being broadcasted on the news; they’re affecting and changing everyone’s lives drastically, particularly in the U.S. It was only natural at this point for Tropical Storm Arthur to swing by, and now we’re expecting some kind of dinosaur return or alien invasion, perhaps a cosmic rift. We were all so caught up in the terrible disasters nation- and world-wide that I think NASA kind of saved the day, at least for a little while.
We all watched Australia burn. We all mourned (at least, I once heard about) the passing of Kobe Bryant. We all watched COVID-19 death rates and case numbers increase. We all watched clips of buildings on fire and people harming each other. We watched racism in action and the terrible things being done to cops across the nation. And we were all there, watching, as NASA marked a historic moment in America’s next generation of new space exploration as Elon Musk’s Spacex Dragon Crew successfully launched 2 astronauts into space––the first time since the US has sent or launched any of its own spacecraft since the shuttle program closed in 2011.
It was an altogether exciting and triumphant experience as the nation, as a whole, as one, united in awe together over a launch into outer space, saw the successful Dragon Crew launch. Despite what has taken place and what is continuing to unfold in the US, and even the world, right now, there is still one thing that intrinsically unifies us, regardless of dividing views and death and disease, and that is humanity’s wonder of space. We all share a common admiration and reverence for the great beyond in the witnessing of the exploration of the final frontier. This brings me hope and an even greater conviction regarding the sacred unknown and power of the cosmos. Despite 2020, at least we can all stop, for just a little while, and watch and applaud together a powerful, positive, and influential historic moment that sheds a little light on the current year.
Varying theories and views are welcome to be discussed in the comments. Thanks for reading, I hope you appreciate, and enjoy the rest of this beautiful day.