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Welcome 2021! Go Away, 2020!

Four years of the worst, most malicious, most demagogic, most crooked, most lying president in American history will come to an end in less than three weeks.

Sunrise at the Washington Monument on August 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images)

Sunrise at the Washington Monument on August 28, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Shannon Finney/Getty Images)

Well, congratulations! If you are reading this, you have experienced and survived the worst pandemic since the 1918 Flu.

It was a truly lousy year. Nearly 350,000 Americans died because of the coronavirus. Millions of people lost their jobs, their homes, their security. Countless numbers were evicted because they couldn’t pay their rent or their mortgage. Hundreds of thousands of small businesses closed permanently because they couldn’t survive without revenue. The damage to our society and our economy has yet to be fully calculated. The damage to our lives has been incalculable.

The pandemic was certainly made far worse because of the absence of leadership from the top. The president should have worn a mask and reminded his fellow Americans to follow his lead. Instead, he avoided being seen in public wearing a mask, and he mocked people who followed the science and wore a mask. He inspired an anti-mask movement that cost many thousands of lives. He held rallies where few people wore masks; his rallies were super spreader events, as was his gathering at the White House to celebrate the appointment of the Supreme Court of Amy Coney Barrett.

Our common enemies must be injustice, disease, inequity, malice.

His followers swaggered around without masks. The governor of South Dakota applauded those who refused to wear them. She allowed a motorcycle rally in Sturgis, South Dakota, attended by thousands of bikers, that turned into a super spreader of COVID for the region. “Within weeks of the gathering,” the Washington Post reported, “along with Wyoming, Minnesota and Montana, were leading the nation in new coronavirus infections per capita. The surge was especially pronounced in North and South Dakota, where cases and hospitalization rates continued their juggernaut rise into October. Experts say they will never be able to determine how many of those cases originated at the 10-day rally, given the failure of state and local health officials to identify and monitor attendees returning home, or to trace chains of transmission after people got sick. Some, however, believe the nearly 500,000-person gathering played a role in the outbreak now consuming the Upper Midwest.“

When governors tried to impose restrictions on movement to slow the spread of the disease, Trump mocked them. He called on protestors to “LIBERATE” their states from the public health restrictions. He cheered on the armed thugs who tried to gain entry into the Michigan State House. He was silent when the FBI arrested a group of thugs who were planning to kidnap Governor Gretchen Whitmer, who was trying to protect Michigan citizens.

It was profoundly discouraging that 74 million Americans voted to maintain this low-class, no-class, crude, ignorant, foul-mouthed con-man as the president. It was heartening that 81 million Americans voted to replace him with a man who has been in public life for half a century and is known for courtesy, compassion, and competence.

So we can count our blessings.

Four years of the worst, most malicious, most demagogic, most crooked, most lying president in American history will come to an end in less than three weeks.

Joe Biden will be inaugurated as the 46th President of the United States on January 20 at noon EST.

We will have a President who has pledged to assume leadership in ending the pandemic and getting vaccines to the American people.

Our nation will resume membership in the Paris Climate Accord and the World Health Organization.

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Our government will be led by people who are dedicated to the mission of their agencies, not to destroying their agencies from within.

We can return to thinking about solving problems instead of warding off the evil created by our president and his sycophants.

We can turn out attention as a nation to the festering problems of racial injustice, economic inequality, and public health.

We must give attention to the fact that almost half the people in this country voted for a man whose wife’s jacket summed up his attitude and hers and theirs: “I Really Don’t Care, Do U?”

We have to care.

We can return to debating the best ways to educate all of our children.

We can resume the democratic practice of agreeing to disagree.

We can revive the norms of civility and the norms of democracy.

Our common enemies must be injustice, disease, inequity, malice.

It is time for a new beginning and a new commitment to making our nation live up to its ideals.

Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch

Diane Ravitch is a historian of education at New York University. Her most recent book is "Reign of Error: The Hoax of the Privatization Movement and the Danger to America's Public Schools."  Her previous books and articles about American education include: "The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education,"  "Left Back: A Century of Battles Over School Reform," (Simon & Schuster, 2000); "The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Students Learn" (Knopf, 2003); "The English Reader: What Every Literate Person Needs to Know" (Oxford, 2006), which she edited with her son Michael Ravitch. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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