This Week in 2020

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Ever since we counted back from ten on the evening of December 31st, 2019, the year 2020 has been a rollercoaster ride. From threats of a World War by attacking Iran in January, to a global pandemic, to murder hornets that seemingly appear out of nowhere, this year has been the gift that keeps on disappointing. Since we haven’t been given a chance to stop and breathe before another impactful life-changing disaster occurs, I figured it’d be easier to recap the year in weeks as opposed to the year as a whole.

As for the week of September 13th, it is almost incomprehensible. So much has happened within the span of seven days that it’s impossible to find a starting point. However, the most important takeaway from this week might be the fact that one of the biggest icons in feminist history, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, passed away Friday evening at the age of 87. What’s even more improbable is that President Trump actually seemed like he was capable of human decency for the first time since taking office after receiving the news, which lasted a matter of minutes as he immediate began trying to replace her.

The unexpected news of RBG’s passing has left everyone in the country wondering who Trump would nominate, and when will it be decided. Prior to her death, Ginsburg had asked that Congress hold off on picking her replacement until after the presidential election was decided. A logical wish, a similar situation that the country faced in 2016. Obviously, Mitch McConnell and the GOP have flip-flopped their position on this faster than you can say “National Mask Mandate.”

While McConnell was totally okay holding off replacing Judge Scalia until President Obama was out of office in 2016, in 2020 he has made it increasingly clear that waiting for the election cycle to end is completely off the table. An idea that Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer responded to by copy and pasting McConnell’s 2016 spiel on why waiting is a good idea. McConnell’s quick decision to immediately replace Ginsburg has prompted two Republican senators to say they are going to flat out refuse to vote for a new justice until the presidential election is finalized.

Senator Lindsay Graham previously stated  that “If there is a Republican president in 2016, and a vacancy occurs in their last year of their first term, you can say Lindsay Graham said let’s let the next president, whoever it might be, make that nomination, and you could use my words against me and be absolutely right.” Of course, Graham went back on his word almost immediately, but I think we’re all hoping that the Democratic and the few Republican senators opting to wait can hold off this vote until November.

Moving on, this week President Trump did the unthinkable. Amidst a global pandemic, civil unrest, and half of the west coast on actual fire, Trump signed an executive order . . . officially banning Tik Tok. Stating National Security concerns, Trump’s order will force the popular app off app stores in America as soon as September 20th, and it will be illegal to host or transfer internet traffic relating to Tik Tok by November 12th. Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross stated that President Trump is going to “do everything in his power to guarantee our National Security and protect Americans from the Chinese Communist Party,” but given the fact that Trump’s personal vendetta against the app began shortly after it was used to buy tickets to his rally and then no show it, leaving many empty seats, many people see this move as a clear and blatant violation of the First Amendment. This left us all wondering who the real Communist here is.

However, the news changes fast: Trump reversed his decision on banning Tik Tok a mere two hours after this piece was initially written. Thanks Wal-Mart for making a deal to save Tik Tok and preserve our First Amendment!

As if there aren’t more pressing issues surrounding the nation at the moment, President Trump has seemingly turned his attention to the 2018 video game sensation “Fortnite”, and the popular “League of Legends” as well, stating reasons similar to when he wanted to ban Tik Tok. His obsession with the Chinese government for all the wrong reasons is becoming slightly concerning. You were close Donald, but you were about 7,233 Miles away from the real issues.

Since we’re on the topic of the President’s inability to actually protect the citizens of the nation he’s supposed to be running, it’s only fitting that we bring up the disaster that was President Trump’s Town Hall on ABC. Hosted by George Stephanopoulos, Trump was bombarded by questions from not only Stephanopoulos, but from concerned citizens of the country. Unlike the interview the President gave earlier in the night with Fox News, a station notorious for playing follow the leader when it comes to the President, Trump was actually challenged during the ABC Town Hall, and it went just as you would expect.

President Trump spent most of the time deflecting questions by giving incoherent ramblings instead of answers, most of which had nothing to do with the questions asked. However, there was one specific moment during this Town Hall that had everyone questioning the state of the President’s mental well-being yet again. After being asked by Julie Bard, a citizen from Pennsylvania, why he refuses to wear a mask or put in place a national mask mandate, President Trump responded by claiming that the Democrats “said they would place the mandate” and blamed Joe Biden, his political opponent and a man who has no political power at the moment, for not instituting a face mask mandate sooner, seemingly forgetting that he is indeed the President of the United States and that is in fact his job . . . for the time being.

Like the rest of this god forsaken year, this is only a small fraction of the many, many events that continue to happen around us. For example, I could’ve also written about: the fires that continue to rage across the west coast, the revelation that ICE detention centers are performing mass hysterectomies, President Trump claiming school choice is the big civil rights issue in America, ignoring the actual civil rights issue in America, the fact that Homeland Security named white supremacy as the most persistent and lethal threat to the U.S., recordings of the President admitting to intentionally misleading the public about the pandemic, or Trump trying to eliminate lessons about systematic racism in schools, which he still insists does not exist. All of which, might I remind, happened within the past week at the time of writing.

All important things and worth talking about for sure, but If I kept going this piece would reach novel length and I fear that I’d lose my mental stability, or at the very least become a raging alcoholic.

While the world is quite literally on fire and every day brings some new horror, it’s easy to forget the finer things in life, and things we can do to make actual significant change. As the Notorious RBG once said, “To make life a little better for people less fortunate than you, that’s what I think a meaningful life is. One lives not just for oneself but for one’s community.”

R.I.P. Ruth Bader Ginsburg: March 15th, 1933- September 18th, 2020.

 

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Raul is a new student at New England College majoring in creative writing. He’s been writing his whole life but only learned how to write the right way his senior year in high school. He recently graduated from Nashua Community College and is working on expanding his writing style and bettering his writing.
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