Up & Coming Weekly

December 29, 2020

Up and Coming Weekly is a weekly publication in Fayetteville, NC and Fort Bragg, NC area offering local news, views, arts, entertainment and community event and business information.

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Page 12 of 24

12 UCW DECEMBER 30, 2020 - JANUARY 5, 2021 WWW.UPANDCOMINGWEEKLY.COM 2020: The Year in Review by JIM JONES e best part of 2020 is that six Amer- ican astronauts successfully docked with the space station. For everyone else, the roaring twenties was like a unicorn getting hit in the head by a bag full of rainbows. e new decade started off promis- ing. Unemployment was low, gas prices were down, stock market was up, mili- tary causalities were down. Politically, it was an election year and President Trump was heading to an impeach- ment vote. In late January, a cough, a sneeze, or a touch from the other side of the world set off a chain reaction of mis- haps causing subsequent reactions and a series of other reactions causing us to not only have a virus but set off a geo- economic, political and psychological upheaval, and it looked like human- ity was heading for a knockout. As we woke up from the punch to our psyche, it made us question everything we thought we knew and then we watched everything we did know, reverse. is unseen thing called "COVID-19." caused by a coronavirus called SARS- CoV-2 is no respecter of persons. It does what viruses do. ey spread until the carrier or the virus dies. Symptom- atically, people may not know they have it. Some have mild symptoms or others, with underlying medical condi- tions, find they are at higher risk for developing more serious complications and pos- sibly death. Americans tried to process the bar- rage of information of "do this, don't do that … no, no, do this, not that," while Martians invaded and stole all of the toilet paper. Scientists, doctors, nurses and first responders became the new frontline warriors. Before scientists could deter- mine if a droplet of coronavirus could spread through a mask, other people discovered another virus called "the spineless politician." e spineless politician virus is a human that can still walk upright, talk and yet get reelected. eir method of trans- mission is fear and authoritari- anism. e symp- toms are force, unemployment, financial devasta- tion, suicide, anxi- ety, depression, mental health is- sues, and in some cases death. By April, the America we knew was gone. Stay-in- place orders hit. With food shortages and unemployment predicted, grocery shopping became a hunting trip and homeowners flooded Home Depot and Lowes, and our yards looked fabulous. Gardening and fishing were in vogue and Americans bought guns. As the chain reaction moved, it killed the First Amendment. is little thing called a "fact checker" popped up on social media and free expression was subject to warnings, suspension or deletions. Google, Facebook and Twit- ter changed algorithms or just deleted stories that they did not agree with, i.e., the Hunter Biden Ukraine laptop story. So called TV reporters acted more like actors with each story com- plete with sighs, grunts and eye roll- ing for effect. We had to look hard to find raw information. Stories were edited to a narrative and news companies started hanging themselves with bias report- ing and the birth of the "mo- bile reporter" was born. To further kill competition, these reporters where censored, de- monetized and out right can- celled by big tech and the new "Cancel Culture." e "Cancel Culture" (or call-out culture) became wea- ponized in the form of ostra- cism. From the book, "e Coddling of the American Mind: How Good Intentions and Bad Ideas Are Setting Up a Generation for Failure," so- cial psychologist Jonathan Haidt, said the call-out culture arises from what he calls safetyism on college campus- es. So, the people who needed a "safe zone" from fear of bullying at school is now empowered to bully and can- cel whoever they don't like. e Woke Movement also woke up in support of the Black Lives Matter movement often going toe-to-toe with police officers in the name of a peaceful protest. e country read- ied for 2.4 million deaths. Hospitals reduced staff to es- sential personnel and elected procedures were cancelled while people stayed home, and many died. Of- ficials across the country decided to release prisoners because of health concerns inside the prisons, but you could be arrested for disobeying their Governor's COVID orders. Officials shut down what they considered non-essential businesses and implemented curfews. While many went without a job for months on end, Walmart, Amazon, and big tech profits went up. Way up. Mixed messages by various states, statistics and theories led many people to believe the govern- ment was overreaching into their civil liberties and Americans bought firearms. Telework was born. Tech companies answered the call. Microsoft rolled out a new business communications plat- form called Teams. eir timing could not have been better. We replaced social interaction with Zoom, Skype and Facetime calls. Parents struggle with home schooling. However, while the bars were closed, the alcohol sales at the ABC store skyrocketed. Frustrated city dwellers headed to the suburbs and country in what is now called the "great relocation" movement. As the country divided by the "haves" and he "have nots," Americans bought firearms in fear of being robbed and looted. COVER STORY

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