Gary Horton | What’s Next? Locusts? 2020 Isn’t Easy So Far

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There’s been plenty of internet memes about skipping past 2020 right into 2021. Can’t we just go to sleep and wake up and have it all be over? We give up a year of our lives but at least it’s 2021? Where’s the “That was easy!” button? Hot damn, this has come to be one hell of a year!

And all indications are things are only getting more amped until the November election — and can’t you just wait until the orange orb with fascist fantasies ruminates, that with all the tumult, maybe it’s unsafe to hold elections? 

I know that seems far-fetched. About as far-fetched as a three-month lockdown and 30% national unemployment seemed in December 2019…

And riots – all over the nation. Riots! Out-of-control stuff. Burning cop cars, looted buildings, deaths, cops attacked and killed. Total bedlam and waste and ruin and really stupid bad people doing really stupid bad stuff – on a national scale.

Almost like the Senate, but with clubs and broken windows.

The Black Lives Matter movement is real. The injustices and violence perpetrated on blacks and other minorities in the U.S. is real and disgusting and a national disgrace and it’s about time we air it out and finally, once and for all, as a nation, decide to end this last legacy of our nation’s original sin – slavery. 

Bigotry dies slowly among the ignorant and we have a ton of that, these days.

As we know, Black Lives Matter is not a crowd of looters smashing into the Apple store or Macy’s or burning down police stations. Rather, these looters are criminal, felonious, and our jails will be back up to full capacity, and rightfully so, when this rioting BS finally burns out. And today, in this age of “cameras everywhere” – there will be an awful lot of surprised and disappointed new prison enrollees when detectives come knocking on their doors with video surveillance evidence in hand. 

Looters couldn’t be more stupid. My God, what a waste! 

But what a boon for gun sales! What a boon for those Second Amendment kooks who have 30 guns at home and soon to be 33. And by all appearances, their “arm yourself to the gills” arguments make sense at the moment, what with roving mobs burning down civilization. Still, we should remind these gun enthusiasts that almost all successful suicides are with the owner’s firearm, and an alarming number of accidental deaths are also caused by the very gun the now-deceased previously owned. 

Even though it momentarily appears so, more guns aren’t the answer. In truth, gun owners kill themselves with guns at far greater rates than they protect themselves. And overwhelmingly, it’s white male gun owners doing most of the dying by gun. What an irony. 

Careful eyes see our present-day looters come in all races and genders and ages and shapes and sizes. What they have in common (besides criminality) I bet, is ignorance and lack of education and likely unemployment. Dumb people do dumb things and desperate people to desperate things. With 30% unemployment and a whole rash of folks with bad education, America is loaded for this anti-social, criminal behavior. 

Never before has our generation faced such a situation where we must rebuild America — from our values, up. The COVID-19 lockdown has changed so much about American employment that we’ll be facing down 10-15% unemployment for a year and perhaps for years. Much of the unemployed will be lower-end workers and those with poor education. These folks will need serious assistance of very wide scope. Yet government money will be scarce, schools and social programs will of necessity be impaired by budget restraints, and Congress will have lost its appetite for the money gun, having blasted a $7-trillion deficit though our future, all in four short years.

COVID-19 blowback and social unrest will not be a passing fancy. We’ve got a national emergency that’s grabbed us by our spines and it’s here to stay for many months and even years unless we get clever and determined to solve our deep core problems of employment, social justice, police conduct and social civility. We’re going to have to become a nation focused on building up people and not just profits.

And Joe Biden thinks he wants this job? My gads, it would be monumental for anyone at peak age. Can you imagine a late 70-something waking up to face these problems each day? Obama took office at peak health and faced the lowest point of the Great Recession. He walked into wars, bankruptcies, everyone losing their homes, and despair. 

Biden will show up in the Oval Office and think it’s Groundhog Day — save the two wars Obama had to wind down – but then Donald Trump still has six months to gin up something to pull his numbers back up – so a surprise war or two might still be on the table.

Tighten your seatbelts and stash your cash. 2020 will remain a year unlike any other, right to Nov. 3. And if we end up with yet another popular vote/electoral college disparity – there’s even more turbulence ahead.

Good thing there’s toilet paper back in the grocery stores. Demand will be high. 

Gary Horton’s “Full Speed to Port!” has appeared in The Signal since 2006. The opinions expressed in his column do not necessarily reflect the opinions of The Signal or its editorial board.

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