What a year 2020 has been -- and we are only half way through it.
The year began with the impeachment proceedings of Donald Trump. The U.S. attacked Iran. Coronavirus began in China, then Europe and finally hit the U.S. with a blow that knocked out the economy and sent us home from school and work. A record number of Americans -- tens of millions -- became unemployed. More than 100,000 American died of Covid-19 as Trump claimed victory over the virus. The nation's doors were kicked open, perhaps prematurely, with the bang of massive protests necessitated by continued police brutality against black men. (I'd be doing a disservice, here, to ignore that that brutality did not happen in a vacuum. Racism is inherent in this nation as further evidenced in the grisly murder of Ahmaud Armery, a young black man out for a job when he was hunted down by armed men in a pickup truck.) The protests got ugly in Minneapolis, Seattle and, namely, D.C. when Trump had Park Police fire tear gas into a peaceful crowd so he could stage a photo op in front of a church.
Here we are, almost halfway through an election year. I fear it will only get uglier and scarier.
This story from Columbia Journalism Review looks at life in death in the last six months.
I'm sad today. Incredibly sad.
I'm sad because I have come to believe modern American society has resigned itself to racist horrors, faux meritocracy and rampant corruption as "good enough."
Another wave of police murdering black citizens has crashed upon us. A corrupt government filled with grifting ignoramuses who ascended to important positions for no other reason than their wealth is pillaging its citizenry. And, with 41 million Americans unemployed, institutions that are designed to serve - like higher education and journalism - are checking their bottom line and throwing more citizens to the pile.
I sit in a place of relative privilege. That is not lost on me. But, I ache for my black friends, hurt for friends who have been and will continue to be laid off. And I continue to be scared over the seismic gap between those who have and those do not, as well as the disappearance of compromise, empathy and selflessness.
The best thing I've read this week is a Twitter thread from Jessica Clarendon, who is the wife of an African-American WNBA player, Layshia Clarendon.
I am of the mindset that good journalism takes hard work. Great journalism? LOTS of hard work. So, when I came across the piece by PBS for which reporters interviewed 74 former Biden staffers, I was blown away.
Imagine contacting, scheduling, then interviewing and processing 74 interviews. This is how journalists get at the truth. They make calls. They study. They make appointments. They are flexible. They are on the fly. They knock on doors. They make more calls. They have conversations. They ask questions.
Dan Bush, Lisa Desjardins, Rachel Wellford and Saher Khan deserve a hand for this tenacious, persistent reporting.
Enemy of the people?
Not even close.
Molly Yanity, Ph.D.