A Brief History
On December 31, 2021, we take a look back at the year that is just ending, with no particular reason for optimism. The pandemic continued, political division in the United States remained high, (as always) many significant people died, and some of my favorite television shows were cancelled! (Obviously we are only scratching the surface of our selected topics, so feel free to make your own comments and observations about 2021 to expand the “big picture.”) Former President Trump got booted from Twitter! Yes, and the weather sucked, too.
Late breaking bad news:
Terrible wildfire in Colorado aggravated by 110 mph winds, with about 1000 homes destroyed.
Pandemic continues despite vaccines
The beginning of 2021 saw widespread vaccination against the Covid virus, including President and Mrs. Trump, but despite millions lining up (sometimes for hours) to get their shots, a pervasive and pernicious anti-vax conspiracy theory movement caused many more millions of Americans to refuse the vaccination. Meanwhile, a new “Delta” variant became the predominant Covid strain, and then later in 2021 a new “Omicron” variant became the scourge of health care officials, resulting in record numbers of new cases during December of 2021. Over a MILLION new cases in the US over the last 4 days of 2021! Thank goodness the death toll has not risen proportionately. Still, after almost 2 years of onerous pandemic restrictions on travel, gathering, in person schooling, mask wearing and the like, we are nearly back to square one, with no end in sight! Oy vey! Holiday season 2021 has brought thousands of cancelled flights and ruined visiting plans, crowded hospitals, and ever more debate about “in person” classrooms and other activities. The pandemic is also being blamed for increases in mental health problems. While unemployment is down, a pronounced lack of available workers willing to work at minimum wage type jobs has caused fast food restaurants and other employers to reduce hours or even shut down due to lack of workers. The American public remains bitterly divided over anti-Covid measures, especially about vaccines. Even former President Trump was booed by his own supporters when he urged them to get vaccinated in late 2021!
Supply chain problems
Television pictures of hundreds and hundreds of shipping containers stacked up in ports and of dozens of ships making circles in the water offshore our ports were an indication of the “supply chain” problem that beset the country (and world) in 2021. The inability of the manufacturing and transportation systems to cope with pandemic related factors led to a shortage of computer chips for automobile use, causing auto makers to only produce a limited number of cars, leaving consumers with slim pickings at depleted dealerships and top prices for new and used cars that could be found in car lots. (Our local Ford dealer added $10,000 on top of the sticker price for a new Ford Bronco!)
Inflation and gasoline prices
Gasoline started 2021 at about $2.40 per gallon, but rose during 2021 to over $3.00 per gallon, remaining there up to the end of 2021. Some market analysts predict a slight lowering of gasoline prices in 2022, but others claim we could be seeing $4.00 per gallon gas in 2022. Along with gasoline, prices of nearly every other consumer item also increased sharply in 2021, driving inflation to 6.8 in November of 2021 (the highest in about 40 years) with the threat of continued extreme inflation in 2022, perhaps as much as 8%.
While numbers for the calendar year are of course not yet complete, a recent news story noted that over 100,000 Americans had died of opioid overdose over the previous 12 month period, an enormous number that is about 7 times the number of murders by firearm in the US annually. Is the pandemic partly to blame? Maybe…
Anti-cop hysteria resulting in increased crime and increased police deaths
So far in 2021 about 88 police officers have died on duty from being murdered or killed in a chase compared to 61 such deaths in 2020. Covid related deaths for police officer soared to 323 during 2021 (so far) compared to 254 during 2020. (Total police duty related deaths in 2021 numbered 481 compared to 385 in 2020. More shootings of police officers occured in the last couple days of 2021.) Police morale is at an all time low, with incredible instances of politicians, media and celebrities castigating and denouncing the police, continuing the trend from 2020. Meanwhile, crime rates have soared in the face of diminished respect for law enforcement, especially serious crimes such as murder, which has seen record increases from 2019 to 2020, and is up again this year. Brazen smash and grab heists have become common, and in a couple of cases, notable anti-police politicians were themselves car-jacked and or robbed in broad daylight! Cops are afraid to make traffic stops or check out suspicious characters, lest they be thrown under the bus by scared city officials, and traffic violators are fleeing the cops in record numbers. The convictions of Derek Chauvin and Kimberly Potter have had a chilling effect on police, and police recruiting remains abysmal. Misguided activists have convinced politicians to empty the jails and eliminate much of the bail/bond process, putting mass numbers of criminals back on our streets even after they are arrested for other crimes.
Ammo and gun sales continue at record levels
In the face of a seemingly apocalyptic pandemic and the aforementioned skyrocketing crime wave, Americans continued to buy firearms and ammunition at record paces, leading to shortages of both in gun stores, especially ammunition.
January 6th Capital Riot
Rabid supporters of President Trump took his advice and marched on the nation’s capital, storming the capitol building and desecrating those hallowed spaces, attacking police and destroying federal property on the way. (Cops were beaten with American flags among other things.) Some rioters apparently wanted to find Vice President Pence and lynch him! Meanwhile, despite pleas from panicked Republican legislators (including Minority Leader McCarthy), Trump at first refused to intervene or send help, only later reluctantly calling off his dogs. The spectacle humiliated the USA in the eyes of the world. Unlike many other riots, the FBI made an enormous effort to identify perpetrators and see that they were prosecuted.
President Trump get Impeached, Again!
Donald J. Trump made history in 2021, by becoming the only US president to get impeached twice, this time for allegedly fomenting the riot and attempted obstruction of the democratic process on January 6th. In fact, the January 6th riot/insurrection became one of the hottest topics of the entire year, with Democrats accusing Trump and his supporters of trying to subvert the democratic process of installing a new president, and Trump and friends making outlandish claims that the riot was more akin to “tourism” than an actual riot, let alone any effort on their part to conduct what amounts to a coup. Once again, the impeachment process was relegated to joke status as Republicans refused to take the process seriously and failed to convict Trump despite overwhelming evidence of his culpability. Undeterred, Democrats in the House of Representatives set up their own investigation of the events surrounding the January 6th Capital riot amid even more partisan rhetoric and infighting. Meanwhile, Trump and his supporters continued to beat the drum of alleged voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election, claims that have been disproven over and over again.
We trade one elderly, babbling president for another…
No examples of each are necessary. If the reader is not familiar with hilariously goofy verbal gaffes by both of these esteemed gentlemen, well, there is no hope…
Bizarre media partisanship (both sides)
The media on the left steadfastly refused and refuses to acknowledge the wrongfulness of BLM and other left wing inspired riots, which have continued the 2020 trend of violence and bodily harm into 2021. A particularly egregious example was the (lack of) coverage of the White hating racist Black Male that drove his car into a holiday parade of (mostly) White people in Waukesha, Wisconsin on November 21. In spite of ample evidence of the perpetrator’s anti-White racist sentiment and obvious intention to injure and kill White people (his own social media accounts detailed this horrid desire), the left leaning media continuously downplayed the racial aspect of the incident in which several innocent people lost their lives and several dozen were injured. Meanwhile, this same left leaning media waxed eloquent about the audacity and mendacity of the January 6th Capital rioters and demanded prosecution to the full extent of the law for those persons involved, while ignoring the arsonists, looters and assorted miscreants involved in BLM and other left supported riots. The left leaning media also continued to play the siren song of anti-cop mantras every time police somewhere used force against a criminal that was either resisting arrest or engaged in an effort to harm an innocent person(s).
Instead of merely reporting the news, the media on both sides took highly partisan views presented to the public in a blatant effort to sway public opinion regarding voting rights, redistricting, crime control, gun control, abortion rights, and virtually every news story that came up! Take a look at the media coverage of the Kyle Rittenhouse case to see just how biased both sides were regarding that case. For that matter, how about climate change?
Meanwhile, the disingenuous right leaning media continued the 2020 trend of mocking anti-Covid measures, questioned the efficacy of vaccines, made lame excuses for the Capital rioters of January 6th and perpetuated the myth of vast (unproven and unprovable) voter fraud in the 2020 presidential election that supposedly cost Donald Trump the election. Right wing media continued to prop up ridiculous conspiracy theory spouting pundits and politicians.
Cuomo Brothers disaster
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo resigned in the face of overwhelming pressure after being accused of sexual harassment. These allegations came on the heels of allegations that the State of New York had manipulated Covid death data to make it look like nursing home deaths were not as bad as they really were. (The NY prosecutor declined to press criminal charges against Andrew Cuomo for either the sexual harassment or nursing home scandals.) Then, CNN news reporter Chris Cuomo was fired by CNN due to alleged ethical misconduct relating to his dealing with his brother Andrew’s sexual harassment case. The once promising political career of Andrew is likely over, while Chris will probably still land another news job somewhere in the future.
Amazingly, the Cleveland Browns not only made it to the playoffs in 2021 (as part of the 2020 NFL season), but they also actually won a playoff game for the first time since 1994! With high hopes for 2021, the Browns were a long shot sentimental favorite to go to the Super Bowl (somewhere they have never been), but as of this date they are a disappointing 7-8 on the season and probably will not even make the playoffs, though they just might… Football also brought us the ancient Tom Brady at the head of a new team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and leading them to a Super Bowl victory at the age of 43 to boot! With professional and amateur sports gravely affected by the pandemic, the NBA Championship was won by the Milwaukee Bucks, dethroning LeBron James and his Los Angeles Lakers that did not even make it to the Conference finals. This crazy sports year may be best exemplified by the Tampa Bay Lightning winning the NHL Championship. (Seriously, a hockey team from Florida?) Second greatest golfer of all time, Tiger Woods, was nearly killed and maimed in a serious one car auto wreck in February of 2021, and finally made it back to the golf course in December, though he is through as a regular tour performer. The Atlanta Braves won another World Series Championship, and the Cleveland Indians got a new name, now called the Guardians. The former Washington Redskins are still “The Washington Football Team” as of today.
Notable deaths (Too many to list all of them, so this is a select and limited list)
Marty Schottenheimer, Sam Huff and John Madden (NFL), Bobby bowden (CFB), Hank Aaron and Tommy Lasorda (MLB), Elgin Baylor (NBA), both Bobby and Al Unser (auto racing), Rod Gilbert (NHL), Lee Elder (golf), Jim “Mudcat” Grant (MLB), Marvin Hagler (Boxing), Sam Jones (NBA)
Olympia Dukakis, Cicely Tyson, Christopher Plummer, Hal Holbrook, Cloris Leachman, Michael K. Williams, Ed Asner, Mort Sahl, Jackie Mason, Larry King, Rush Limbaugh, Norm MacDonald, Stephen Sondheim, DMX, Charlie Watts, Michael Nesmith, Don Everly, Mary Wilson, Chick Corea, Gerry Marsden, Tanya Roberts, Phil Spector, Yaphet Kotto, George Segal, Felix Silla, Jim Steinman, Charles Grodin, Gavin MacLeod, Dusty Hill, Biz Markie, Dennis Thomas, Brian Travers, Halyna Hutchins (shot by Alec Baldwin), Melvin Van Peebles, Ned Beatty, Dean Stockwell, Tawny Kitaen, Sonny Chiba, Sigfried Fischbacher, Paul Mooney and Johnny Pacheco. Late addition: Betty White, age 99.
Beverly Cleary, Anne Rice, Joan Didion, and Larry McMurtry, Larry Flynt, Eric Carle, Jason Matthews
Michael Collins (Apollo 11 pilot), Roger Mudd (news)
Sarah Weddington (Roe v. Wade), Colin Powell, Harry Reid, Bob Dole, Donald Rumsfeld, Desmond Tutu, Abolhassan Bani-Sadr, F.W. de Klerk, John Warner, Ron Wright (first member of House of Representatives to die of Covid), Prince Phillip
Another American military humiliation
After almost 20 years of occupying and fighting in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, the US finally ended the long, expensive war and pulled out our military and diplomatic people, resulting in a virtually immediate takeover of the country by the Taliban, the Islamic fundamentalist group of radicals that we had invaded to displace in the first place! While the cost in American lives did not come close to the Vietnam War debacle (about 2400 total US military deaths in Afghanistan, of which over 1900 were due to enemy action, compared to about 58,000 US military deaths during the Vietnam War), the blow to US prestige and especially to the new Biden Administration was enormous, both within the United States and throughout the rest of the world. There seems to be no lessons learned for the US in trying to “nation build” countries that have no desire to be like the United States.
Question for students (and subscribers): What event or events do you think were the most significant of 2021? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Goode,, Orwell. The Clowning of America: Woke Capital, Con Inc, & Meme Culture. Independent, 2020.
Herford, Oliver. Wokeness Survival Guide: 101 tips to navigating the woke culture in a modern society. Amazon, 2021.