2021 in the rearview mirror

Pandemic – COVID-19 has been a global tragedy, killing more than 800,000 Americans so far,  plus more around the world, infecting millions more, hitting nearly every family in the country, damaging the economy and leaving a wide path of destruction. Part of the tragedy is that it needn’t have been so deadly had the prior administration not politicized it by failing to take the threat seriously, and instead peddling quack treatments and telling people it was a hoax. Donald Trump feared the truth could harm his reelection chances and that wearing a mask in public would make this vain, uncaring narcissist look like a sissy.

American Democracy – The far greater threat than COVID-19 this year and into the foreseeable future is the failed coup led by the defeated president to overturn last year’s presidential election and derail the democratic process.   Trump challenged its legitimacy, but some 60 court challenges by him and his supporters failed to produce any tangible evidence. On January 6 Trump incited his followers to “walk down to the Capitol” “and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore.”  Then he sat back and watched on TV the violent and deadly attack on the Capitol . The majority of House Republicans voted to back his Big Lie and undermine Americans’ faith in what even his attorney general called claims of a stolen election “bullshit.”

Iran Nukes  —  President Joe Biden wants to return to the Iran Nuclear Agreement but the Iranians are upping the stakes and a deal looks increasingly unlikely. The year ends with Tehran closer to having nukes than when Trump ripped up the pact saying he could get a better deal. He never really tried, and Iran today has more enriched uranium than it had five years ago, and the stockpile keeps growing. Many Israeli political and security leaders privately admit they were better off before Trump tore up the agreement.

Abortion — Republicans may get their wish, thanks to Trump’s Supreme Court Justices, and outlaw abortion and repeal Roe v Wade, but don’t call them pro-life because they’re still voting overwhelmingly against birth control,  pre-natal care, aid to families, childcare, pre-school education, food stamps and health care. At the same time they support making more and deadlier guns more available. “Pro-death” seems  more accurate.

Benjamin Netanyahu – He was dumped (“F*** him”) by his BFF Donald Trump for all the wrong reasons and by Israeli voters for the right reasons. The disgraced former American president was miffed that Netanyahu congratulated Biden on his election victory. Israeli voters decided he needed to spend more time with his family and criminal lawyers during his trial for corruption and bribery.

Bipartisan Support for Israel —  The new Israeli government is working to rebuild relations with Democratic Party and the Jewish community so badly damaged by Netanyahu’s deep plunge into partisan American politics.  Jerusalem also sent a serious ambassador to replace the Republican hack who shared responsibility for the problem.

Vice Presidents – History was made by the two who held the job this year. Mike Pence put loyalty to the Constitution over loyalty to Trump, whose supporters brought a noose to the Capitol on January 6 and chanted “Hang Mike Pence” because he wouldn’t overrule the American voters. His successor, Kamela Harris, became the first woman and the first person of color to hold that office and her husband is the first second gentleman and first Jewish spouse of a Veep.

Abraham Accords – Actually signed in 2020, this historic agreement expanded in its first year as four Arab countries made peace and normalized relations with Israel. Egypt and Jordan signed treaties a generation ago, but it has been a cold peace with little normalization and less warmth.

Antisemitism – It has always been on the fringes of American politics but more recently it has been moving front and center, most notably in Republican politics and Trump’s attacks on Jewish loyalty. American Jews “no longer love Israel,” he told one interviewer, accusing them of “great disloyalty” for voting for Biden and not for him. It reminded us of Richard Nixon telling his top aide “most Jews are disloyal… you can’t trust the bastards.” The religious right professes love for Israel, but Jews not so much. On the left antisemitism can be a different problem, often an expression of hostility toward Israel and usually condemned within the Democratic party.

Jewish Space Lasers –GOP media star and conspiracy theorist Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene revealed the California forest fires were ignited by a Jewish space laser. She also has shared a video on Facebook claiming that “Zionist supremacists have schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation,” Vox reported. She said she came to Congress  “To work to see America restored to the Christian principles.“

Voting Rights – Republicans have taken advantage of their superior organization in many states to muscle through some of the most repressive and restrictive voting laws since the days of official segregation. They have been able to dilute Black and other minority voting by putting more rural and white suburbanites into urban and minority districts. On Capitol Hill, Senate Republicans consistently block every effort to enact electoral reform. Democrats may be the majority party by national registration and presidential votes, but they’ve failed at the state level and it is costing them dearly.

2024 – Trump is flirting with running again for president but it he doesn’t, Sen. Ted Cruz has declared himself the heir apparent to the GOP nomination. He may have spent the last four years kissing Trump’s tush, even after Trump called the Texas senator’s wife ugly and tried to link his father to JFK’s assassination. Trump may love sycophants, but he won’t forget “Lyin’ Ted” calling him a “sniveling coward,” “pathological liar,” “utterly amoral, “serial philanderer.” Cruz is the kind of guy who when the going gets tough, he gets going.  As in February when he fled to sunny Cancun, Mexico, while his Texas constituents were struck by a crippling blizzard. Heroically, he stood up to Big Bird, accusing the yellow one of peddling “government propaganda” by promoting vaccination. Cruz speaks of “restoring” America, which means recovering the original identity as a Christian nation, writes Rachel S. Mikva, a professor of Jewish studies,  in USA Today

Scrooge – Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is a coal industry multi-millionaire senator who drives a Maserati and lives on a luxury houseboat — and opposes climate change provisions and child tax credit payments in the Build Back Better legislation. He said parents might use the credits to buy drugs. Like EpiPens, the emergency treatment for acute allergic reactions made by Mylan, Inc., a pharmaceutical company run by his daughter, who raised the price of the life-saving item from $124 to $609 a few years back when she was in charge and collecting an annual salary of $18.5 million.

Good News – Trump is out, Biden is in and this year is over.

About the Author
Douglas M. Bloomfield is a syndicated columnist, Washington lobbyist and consultant. He spent nine years as the legislative director and chief lobbyist for AIPAC.
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