The good news

You probably had a tough year. Perhaps you were cooped up with kids under pressure. Maybe someone you care about got very sick. Maybe inflation squeezed your paycheck.

As we stumble towards the end of the year, here are a few things that Americans might want to feel good about.

  • The speed with which researchers developed and deployed vaccines in 2021 was incredible. In the US, 203 million people are fully vaccinated, and mRNA technology will make it possible to develop new vaccines against diseases like malaria and future COVID variants. Considering the despair we all felt about COVID in 2020, this has to qualify a vast improvement in people’s lives.
  • The American Congress passed a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan on a bipartisan basis with money for roads and bridges, ports, airports, rail, water, power, and broadband. This breakthrough comes after years of failures and increasingly degraded, outdated, and dangerous infrastructure.
  • After a dizzying array of job losses in the pandemic, the US unemployment rate is now at 4.2%.And wages are up.
  • A combination of online shopping, easing of supply chain problems, and people wisely shopping early meant that most people were able to get their loved ones holiday presents.
  • Americans are no longer dying or killing in the war in Afghanistan. America no longer has major involvement in an overseas war.
  • Despite one day of violence, a new president eventually took office and the stability of American government continues, at least for now.
  • Paul Simon, Bob Dylan, Mel Brooks, and Betty White are still alive.
  • Winnie the Pooh is about to enter the public domain.

While on social media, people are horrid to each other, in person, most of our interactions remain peaceful. I’ve enjoyed interacting with people over the busy holiday season and the workers I interacted with, including health care workers, were as helpful as they could be possibly be.

Our challenges will continue in the new year. Life is not easy, and we remain divided as a nation. But if I had told you on January 1, 2020 that all these positive things would come to pass, you probably wouldn’t have believed me.

Persist. In the end, it’s the only thing that matters.

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  1. Thank you for this positive take on current events. As I sit here with my two-month-old granddaughter asleep on my lap, it gives me hope for her future. She’s already having Very Important Dreams, Pooh!

  2. A friend reminds me that since Betty White lived through 24 leap years, mathematically (in which 1 year = strictly 365 days) she lived for 100 years and 7 days.

    Answering the next blog’s question: what I value is that each day you put your stake in the ground and either communicate where you stand or teach us something or both. So you’re still acting like an analyst; part of the job is to make the best judgment possible, whether or not all the info is available. Situations always change later (in this case, Betty passed) but we have an in-the-moment record.

    Peter Kelley recommended your site to me two years ago; thank you, Peter!