So much transpired that cannot be taken back. The year 2020 was like placing a greatest hits of everything bad that has ever happened in a Cuisinart, pushing high, and leaving it running for 12 months. And none of it should ever be forgotten, less it be repeated.
Historically, this part of the calendar will be remembered as a time of rebellion, a time of turmoil, and a time of death. Long-standing anger at xenophobia & racial injustice, boiled over into justified protests that wrapped around the entire globe. Unprecedented corruption and irresponsibility in the White House and on Capitol Hill, was nightmarishly emboldened by weak figures holding great power. A resulting pandemic killed nearly 350,000 people in the U.S. alone, and almost two-million, worldwide. (And those numbers are still climbing.) And although there were, on rare occasions, moments of reprieve from the constant barrage of divisiveness and general trauma, these were few and far between; and contrasted by a cloud of death and despair, which managed to touch everyone in the world. This was the year of the mask. And almost no one had a chance to catch their breath. Everyone spent more time on their couch than they ever had before, and everyone learned what ‘social distancing’ means. Those of us who were cautious, or perhaps merely lucky, survived. But many others, including the very health care workers who care for the ones we love, did not.
It was not so much a year, as it was a collective ongoing anxiety attack, without end. Or a toxic spill that permeated every corner of our lives, and felt like ‘gambler’s ruin.’ A statistical concept which states in laymen’s terms that once your luck goes bad, it stays bad, and only gets worse. Until you either arrive at a full stop, or lose everything.
And thus, our year around the sun has given us some really remarkable and frightening images. Photos included have been pooled from all over the internet. Some were published by news organizations such as CNN and the Associated Press (including a few screenshots,) while others were posted to social media as individual commentary, or memes. They are divided into five sections: “TRUMP,” “COVID-19,” “PROTESTS,” “ELECTION,” and finally “2020.” (Please Note: A) some of these images are attributed, while others are not; due mainly to my inability to determine where the image originated. And B) WARNING: the section labeled ‘PROTESTS’ contains a handful of very graphic images, relating to protesters who were viciously assaulted.)
The most ‘unsuccessful’ President in U.S. history, was also the most belligerent when he did not feel he was the center of attention.
Various magazine and newspaper publications sought to portray Trump’s general attitude of indifference toward the damage he was causing the Country, and himself. These are two of the most interesting: a German magazine intimating that he’s setting his own Country on fire, by stoking racial strife during the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement, and a trio of Time Magazine covers, which depict the President as being in general denial of his ongoing circumstances.
A variety of political cartoons and illustrations depicting Trump’s Presidency and general character, were even less tactful. Evidencing the general ethical failure of Trump, along with that of his immediate circle. None held back or pulled punches, when faced with the reality of what Trump and those in his Administration represented to Democracy. These are but of few.
Trump’s press conferences (which often felt more like publicity stunts) were infamous, due mainly to his behavior, his inability to give direct answers to direct questions, and his constant self-aggrandizing. He seemed not to understand the role of President of the United States, and instead chose to function as though he were merely a television personality, deserving of unconditional love. And when such love was not forthcoming, he would instantaneously appear dejected and voice crude insults to whoever wandered into his line-of-sight, or to whomever wandered into his troubled mind. He was also America’s first internet-obsessed President. Constantly focusing on any conspiracy theory cooked up by the Right Wing Extremists who formed the foundation of his base.
In July, he held what amounted to a campaign rally in the shadow of Mount Rushmore, and seriously suggested that money be allocated to begin work to add his own visage to the mountain. Even orchestrating a photo op, which he intended as publicity for a forthcoming push on Capitol Hill, related to said allocation of funds. The scheme was roundly rejected by Republicans, in private, and never officially went before Congress.
Naturally, as social media had for the previous three years, the on-line medium of expression had a field day parodying Trump in 2020. And these are but a scant few of the thousands of images created and passed around, designed to blast Donald Trump’s unethical and illicit nature, along with his unhealthy ego.
The day after Thanksgiving Trump gave his first press conference since losing his re-election bid. His only focus being the discussion of imaginary voter fraud; in a clear bid to try and subvert the U.S. election process, and hold on to the Presidency. Said presser was simply Trump, himself, alone and seated at a child sized table, reading ‘facts’ every reporter in the room knew to be fraudulent. The information he gave was disputed in his presence by journalists, and naturally his temper flared, as Trump’s ongoing war with the media had been a mainstay throughout his tenure as President. Making these among the most iconic and suitable images ever taken of him. And certainly photos that perfectly sum up the public’s perception of Trump infantile reign.
Lockdowns began in some cities in April. Seen here is the 110 Arroyo Seco Parkway, leading to downtown L.A. This photo was taken during rush hour.
In January, Medical staff working for the Red Cross in Wuhan, China began reporting to the world that they were dealing with an outbreak of a new type of pneumonia. The viral infection would eventually be determined to be one in a family of virus’ called coronavirus. The doctor who determined this, eventually died from a more lethal strain, and the reporter in China who leaked several updates on the progression of the virus, without ‘state approval,’ was eventually arrested.
The virus, also known as novel coronavirus, or simply coronavirus, was downplayed by Trump in public for months before many U.S. States went into lockdown. Meanwhile, Trump privately admitted to journalist Bob Woodward that the virus was more deadly than the flu. But by the time Trump’s Administration had decided to take action, the virus had already spread all over the Country, with millions diagnosed symptomatic. And within months over a hundred-thousand people were dead.
Before the end of the year, that number would more than triple, and yet Trump would persist in demanding that he be the primary figure the public get their information from. He wanted this Country to be seen as a Monarchy. This put doctors for the Center for Disease Control, in one helluva pickle, as every word that emitted from Trump’s mouth was ridiculous nonsense. He boasted they already had a cure, he claimed sunlight, UV light, or household chemicals, would kill the virus. And each instance reporters preferred to speak with experts, Trump threw a very bizarre egomaniacal temper tantrum. Broadcast live on Television, and streamed live on the internet. Day after day. Week after week. Over and over again. Until Trump figured out the press were not going to stop calling him out on his lies, and he simply cancelled daily White House briefings.
Trump, defiantly crossed out the word ‘corona’ on notes provided to him for a press briefing, and hand wrote in, ‘Chinese.’ He only referred to the coronavirus as the ‘Chinese virus’ for all of 2020. And as his arrogant attitude worsened week after week, his neglect of the reality of a growing catastrophe, would become emblematic of his decaying Presidency. Soon protesters began picketing the White House, and newspapers began listing the names of the dead. Page after page after page after page.
Meanwhile, there were enough stories of despair to go around in every community. Lucky loved ones were given the chance to say goodbye through glass or a protective shield of some kind. Others were fortunate enough to establish virtual contact with loved ones, using tablets obtained for ‘end of life visits.’ But thousands more died alone in Intensive Care Units, Nationwide, with only hospital staff to hold their hand in their last moments. Trump was usually playing golf while this was happening.
Early on, Trump had conditioned his supporters to shrug it off, and not take the necessary precautions to protect against being infected. It’s rumored he did this to keep his personal stocks, as well as stocks in general, stable. Sacrificing lives for his own wealth, along with the wealth of others like him. In tandem, he purchased tens of thousands of units of a malaria drug called Hydroxychloroquine. Which he claimed was a cure for the virus. He even began influencing conservative media to reinforce this myth on their nightly cable shows, clearly hoping to profit off his haul of the drug. But this supposed ‘cure’ was touted only by Trump and Fox News personalities. And Fox had to work very hard to find credible doctors who would go on the record and claim the drug was ‘showing promise,’ in the fight against COVID-19. A campaign of misinformation that only resulted in confusion, and possibly deaths.
Trump downplayed our circumstances to such a degree (in spite of the CDC having labeled the situation a ‘pandemic,’) that he even refused to wear a mask in public for many months. And he encouraged others attending White House functions, to follow his lead. Naturally, many who attended these functions, contracted the virus; becoming ill following the virus’ incubation period. And as expected, Trump was one of them. Within days of one such function, he was flown the short distance to Walter Reed Medical Center, via Air Force Two, and promptly disobeyed doctor’s orders by instructing the Secret Service take him on a joyride around the hospital in the Presidential Limousine. All this did was further a resolve among his followers that the virus was no big deal. By doing this, he also infected his Secret Service detail, who then had to step down and quarantine, themselves. Sooner than expected, Trump left the hospital, altogether. Claiming he would be self-quarantining in the White House. The following morning, he was seen moving freely among White House staff, refusing to wear a mask.
Due to Trump’s refusal to truly accept the danger of the virus, many of his followers resolved to be defiant in the face of the pandemic. Degenerating from mere ignorance, to a cultish mentality that separated them from mainstream society in a way that would only endanger their lives. Meanwhile, in England, COVID restrictions were laxed by the British government, as testing had indicated viral transmission was slowing. This backfired, severely. In June, thousands blanketed a beach in Bournemouth, England; many not wearing masks, and none social distancing. Infections spiked within days, and the entire Country went on lockdown, again.
Many people did not agree at all with stay-at-home orders. In December, protestors vandalized the State Capitol Building, in Salem, Oregon, while attempting to gain entry. They were protesting lawmakers inside who determined the lockdown restrictions designed to curb consequences of the pandemic. Lawmakers were holding a special legislation session on pandemic related relief, at the time. A handful of journalists were accosted and assaulted, as well, before police disbanded the protest.
Once multiple vaccines had been developed and approved by the Food and Drug Administration, a rollout of vaccinations/inoculations was boasted by the Trump Administration, to pace at vaccinating as many as 20 Million people by the end of December. A full-scale effort, the scope of which had not been seen since World War II. However, not wishing to involve his Administration, or himself, in the work this would require by those in the White House, Trump elected to place States in charge of the rollout. States which didn’t have resources to facilitate such a monolithic operation. And at the date of this writing, only around 2 Million+ people have been vaccinated. Mostly COVID patients and health care workers. And frustratingly, members of Congress whom denied the very existence of virus, only to later cut in line.
In fact, COVID-19 was so deadly serious, Saturday Night Live got spammed with an information link concerning the COVID pandemic/restrictions, when NBC posted a COVID skit to YouTube, immediately after it’s live airing.
On May 25th, four officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota responded to a call that someone had passed a counterfeit bill in a small convenience store. Arriving on scene, they questioned the suspect, George Floyd, for several minutes before taking him into custody. Soon Floyd stated he was having trouble breathing, and officers pulled him from the back seat of their vehicle, placed him on his stomach on the street, and kneeled on his neck and back, choking the life out of him. Floyd tried to scream, and repeatedly gasped, ‘I can’t breath!’ But the officers never responded to his pleas. Bystanders begged the officers to stop, as Floyd appeared non-responsive. But the officers merely instructed the bystanders to stand back. Seconds later, George Floyd was dead. And four cops had bullied him to death. With the entire encounter lasting approximately 17 minutes.
It later turned out the bills were not counterfeit, and Floyd was having trouble breathing with his hands cuffed behind his back because he was infected with COVID. For many among black communities around this Country, this was the last straw. Many people knew there was a problem. If you had googled ‘why Colin Kaepernick keeps kneeling on the sidelines at football games,‘ you knew. You had heard of Breonna Taylor. But some weren’t aware that the list of additional victims of police violence in this Country, was staggering. As a result, many people who weren’t black, were simply ignorant about what was going on out there. But in black communities, they knew. They couldn’t not know. While many of us were going about our lives, unmolested, people who were black were being racially profiled. And occasionally murdered while unarmed. And month after month, year after year, the names of victims were piling up. And it didn’t help that this was taking place under the regime of a President who was notorious for being friendly with white supremacy groups.
Thus, the death of George Floyd lit the fuse of a social awareness bomb that went off, practically overnight. And ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests against police brutality, began in earnest. First in Minneapolis, then quickly spreading across the Country, and eventually around the entire world. Seems police brutality is an issue in other Countries, as well. Back here in the U.S., many paramilitary police officers and white supremacists responded to a handful of minor incidents involving looting, with insurgency tactics. Documenting incidents began piling up of paramilitary police and white supremacists vandalizing and torching businesses, and using conservative media to blame peaceful protestors for their actions. Cops were soon authorized to fire bean bag pellets at protestors and utilize tear gas. Tactics seldom used on home soil, because they’re actually against United Nations accords. Then, there were multiple shootings of protestors, attributed to white supremacists. Few of which were ever arrested. But none of that stopped the protests. In fact, the crowds kept getting bigger every day. And one could rather easily presume this to be among the most frighteningly fierce and astonishing displays of courage, anyone born before the 1960’s had ever seen in their lives. Because it was.
Again, some of these photos are graphic. And necessarily so. You have been warned.
The 2020 Presidential Election was easily the most anticipated event of 2020. For one clear universal reason: half the Country (the ethical half) wanted to get rid of Donald J. Trump. And the other half (the unethical half,) wanted to keep him.
It was the most contentious election in modern history. And it was the most second-guessed election in modern history; with votes in several states, counted and recounted multiple times, at the behest of Donald Trump’s attorneys. And it all began back in 2019, with 20 — that’s right, TWENTY — Democratic candidates, each vying for a chance to kick Trump to the curb.
By the first quarter of 2020, the list of potential Democratic nominees had thinned to just 6 candidates: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, and billionaire Michael Bloomberg. And the debates were lively, even if a few nights seemed like missed opportunities, all around.
Trump being the only candidate Republicans seemingly wanted, he ran virtually unopposed in the Republican Primary. In fact, he clenched the nomination, with ease. He had insulted their intelligence, trashed democracy, lied to them about every aspect of COVID, proven himself to be a truly unethical and stupid person … and many Republicans actually loved him for it.
In August, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Trump’s national chair of the Trump Victory Finance Committee, whatever-the-hell-that-is, made an appearance during the Republican National Convention. Due to the pandemic, the convention was televised without an audience. And among other strange, awkward, and even grotesque embarrassments of the evening, was Miss Guilfoyle shouting to the mountaintops, ‘The Best! Is Yet! To Come!” The most perfectly measured response to this on social media was that screaming groundhog video.
The last night of the RNC, was literally a Presidential re-election campaign rally, held on the White House lawn. A clear illegal use of government property. But Trump’s cult followers loved the grand, fascist symbolism, mirroring rallies in Nazi Germany. It was Trump giving his supporters exactly what they wanted; and simultaneously pumping his own egomaniacal needs. A win-win for everybody. Masks were optional.
But Trump’s parade of super confidence would soon be tempered by doubt when Joe Biden clenched the Democratic nomination, eventually selecting Kamala Harris as his Vice Presidential running mate. This was the Trump campaign’s worst nightmare, as Biden was essentially a centrist Democrat, who appealed to swing voters. Like a rocket, Biden & Harris quickly launched a multistate campaign, backed up by appearances by former President Barack Obama, that would energize and rally voters. In contrast, Trump seemed dejected by his lack of popularity among the more popular crowd. And it appeared to be the only constant preoccupation of his psyche.
There was very little back and forth between the two campaigns. Biden mostly ignored Trump. And conservative media personalities countered by hypocritically accusing Biden of hiding underground, or in a bunker. Something Trump actually did when D.C. protests got too close to the White House. Meanwhile, Trump constantly scoped and targeted Biden and Democrats in general, through a new medium: the internet. ‘Tweeting’ school yard insults, and spreading lies to his brainwashed followers, hoping to antagonize Biden. But Trump only came off like a bratty infant who required constant attention.
Each candidate campaigned quite differently during the ongoing pandemic. While one would require the wearing of masks, the other would make masks optional; where one found it easy to relate to people, face to face, the other found it more comfortable to place himself above others. And yet both found a groundswell of support, anchoring his potential bid on the campaign trail. Even with Trump’s ridiculous, and often ignorant, abusive, bigoted, and self-aggrandizing behavior, both candidates had a shot at the Presidency. Like it or not, it was anybody’s race.
Trump, in fact, had the strategic advantage going into the election. All he had to do was STOP ‘TWEETING.’ His unending posts to the social media site had become legendary for their libelous and toxic content, being designed only to stoke further division on Capitol Hill, and across the Country. In fact, during the election, moderators of the social media site Twitter, were forced to step in and label many of Trump’s tweets with official statements, essentially reprimanding him for lying. But Trump was a con-artist who refused to give up the con. And eventually, everyone realized something else, as well, whether they wanted to or not. That Donald Trump was never mentally equipped to handle the U.S. Presidency, in the first place. Add to that equation his personality disorder, and he was, in effect, a complete failure as President. And a massive insult to Americans.
It’s now clear Trump was always angling to steal the election in the event that he lost it. Many of his more outlandish tweets betray this reality. He would discourage early voting by mail, then encourage early voting by mail. He ordered Postmaster General of the United States, Loui DeJoy, to have the machines designed to assist postal workers in organizing mail-in ballots, dismantled. He encouraged the locking, or removal of post office boxes from sidewalks, in various parts of the Country. It was transparency in high definition, and very corrupt and sleazy. But none of it stopped Americans from voting. In fact, early voting was higher than every before in the history of a general election. Trump was also unsuccessful at having mail-in ballots (specifically Democrat ballots) invalidated. A ridiculous, desperate attempt at illegally rigging the system, that in addition to failing turned a number of Republicans on Capitol Hill against him.
Trump’s various, repeated attacks on Democracy during the previous 4 years, had all failed. And now he had nothing left up his sleeve, save for false rhetoric directed at the Country’s well-established election laws. It was just a question of whether the system of checks-and-balances in the areas of government that really mattered, would withstand his scheming attacks. And for the record, though it was scary to watch it all play out, Democracy did win. And Donald Trump would go down in history as not only the worst President in U.S. history, but he would also be remembered as the man who tried to rig a U.S. election, in full view of established evidence of a free and fair election.
Everyone knew Trump was not well. Only hours before the day of the general election, word had spread among numerous sources coming from within the White House, that Trump intended to claim he had won the election, as soon as he saw he was ahead. Long before any majority of votes had been counted. Scheming, he intended to use some sort of elusive subterfuge or misdirection, to essentially steal the election; fearful he would lose, otherwise. And as the results turned in Biden’s favor, Trump began an earnest attempt to do precisely that; rig the election. Holding a press conference wherein he claimed the election was over, and that he had won, he announced his intention to sue any states which did not award him the electoral college vote. And his belligerence and general sour attitude, was palpable.
Joe Biden, on the other hand, merely issued a statement reaffirming his belief in the electoral process. And though it took several days to properly count all votes in all states, Biden was finally declared the winner. Via both the Electoral College, and the Popular Vote. In fact, this screenshot of an election map, taken just after 3:00pm on November 7th (the day of the election,) shows Biden was always in the lead, and never fell behind.
Still took almost a full week to count all those votes, and officially declare a winner. A very stressful week for everyone. But when all of it was tallied, Biden would make history as the first candidate in a U.S. Presidential election, to receive 80 Million votes. The incumbent President Trump had lost by a whopping 7 million votes. A reality his massive ego could not accept.
But Trump had no intention of ever conceding that he had lost the election, or of even conceding that the election itself was fair and legal. The Justice Department long ago had acknowledged numerous investigations into Donald Trump’s illegal and unethical business practices, to a number of journalists. All one had to do was a deep dive on the internet. It was well-established that Trump had always been a con-artist. And who knows what he has used his position as President to perpetrate, while he was in the White House. Some of his Administration’s illicit activities had been investigated and reported by journalists. But that’s only based on what little information was being leaked out of the White House. A lot more was suspected. And Trump wasn’t about to give up the greatest con of all, so easily. Thus began the most extraordinary and pathetic display of self-disrespect by a public authority figure in U.S. history. It was very simply an ongoing public temper tantrum thrown by the nastiest infant anyone had ever seen.
Spokespersons for Trump and the White House, were continually having trouble keeping a straight face while answering questions about all of this, with newer lies to cover old lies. But even they knew it was a hopeless situation. Trump had now earned the title of the most famous has-been in the world. Not just a soon-to-be ex-President. But a snake oil salesman who attempted to subvert Democracy utilizing the dumbest method imaginable: his mouth. And while Trump did have a few GOP members pimping for him on the Hill and on Television, pushing his election fraud scheme, it wasn’t enough if he wanted to stage a coup. Eventually, even correspondents for conservative media network Fox News poked holes in his claims of election fraud. But he would still never concede. What did he get out of conceding? No, he would run out of legal maneuvers and unethical deceptions, and finally leave on his own. Or be pushed out with prejudice for his as yet unprosecuted crimes. It was just a question of whether or not we would get to watch it happen on live television.
While Biden put together his incoming Administration, and awaited the beginning of the process of a transfer of power, Trump had attorneys sue several states he lost in, demanding votes be recounted. And they were, more than once. Biden won over and over and over and over and over again. Trump then directed his attorneys to take voter fraud cases straight to the U.S. Supreme Court, only to receive judgement after judgement, declaring that there was no evidence of election fraud. He just could not admit to himself that he was not most loved. Which is how his mind saw the situation.
Activity coming from the White House was so frantic, an assistant of one of Trump’s attorneys had arranged to have a press conference at the Four Seasons hotel in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. But somehow, their party wound up at a Four Seasons Landscaping company, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Clearly not the same environment. In fact, there was a porn bookshop within site of the location. The media had a field day with this. Social media had a field day with this. And one can be rather sure the staff at Four Seasons Landscaping had a field day with this, as well.
The election was over. And Trump could flail like a goldfish on hot concrete, all he wanted. But Americans had voiced their opinion of his so-called Presidency, and very soon, a failed real estate magnate and television game show host, would no longer represent our leadership. And though Trump supporters (including many bigots,) would cry foul, the era of Trump had been nothing less than a stress-inducing nightmare for the more sophisticated. And their portion of the world’s population were ready for the Trump era to be over and done with.
In contrast, the Biden-Harris win was euphoric. Biden’s incoming Presidency was seen as nothing short of a rescue from one of the darkest moments in American history. A proverbial light at the end of the tunnel, that would evidence a welcome return to competency in our leadership as a Nation. And in spite of the pandemic, and all the rules necessary to keep everyone safe, response among the mainstream public (including many Republicans) was nothing short of a celebration.
WILMINGTON, DELAWARE – NOVEMBER 07: President-elect Joe Biden and family watch fireworks from stage after Biden’s address to the nation from the Chase Center November 07, 2020 in Wilmington, Delaware. After four days of counting the high volume of mail-in ballots in key battleground states due to the coronavirus pandemic, the race was called for Biden after a contentious election battle against incumbent Republican President Donald Trump. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
There were also historic fires Sydney, Australia, and both Northern & Southern California; virtual high school graduations; an uproar over Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez appearing on the cover of Vanity Fair; the frustrating reality that was the ongoing right wing extremist infomercial we’ve all come to know as Fox News; BREXIT; the conjunction of Jupiter & Saturn; a suicide bombing in Nashville; a successful SpaceX launch and orbit with the International Space Station; the frustration with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s stubborn corruption; the arrest of former White House Chief Strategist, Steve Bannon; new inclusion standards for entertainment companies insuring diversity; a record breaking Hurricane season; a fire in a Russian fireworks company; a massive explosion in Beirut; that whole thing with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry walking away from the Crown; the outcry on social media over Jim Carey’s depiction of Joe Biden on Saturday Night Live; deaths of beloved public figures like Kobe Bryant, Chadwick Boseman, Jeremy Bullock, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg; and the general self-realization that 2020 was in fact the WORST. YEAR. EVER.
And if it felt a little bit like I rushed through this 2020 section, that’s because I did. I wanted to get past 2020 as fast as I could … so I could get to this rainbow. Happy New Year. And may 2021 bring you love and harmony and as much awesome as you can handle.