By Sam Wade
How the is it December already? Didn’t we start this shit awful year sometime last week, spent a good century in lockdown and now time has the sheer bloody audacity to tell us ‘yeah, nah it’s Christmas now. Jingle Jingle you fucks.’
I’m not into it.
2020 has been difficult and I have some feelings about it. I mean. It had so much potential. Fresh decade. Fresh start. Leaving the tail end of the 2010s behind. So many people had those roaring 20s new years parties to ring it in. All sequins, brie and Bellinis. Sparkly nights of hedonism thinking the year would be all flappers and Jazz.
They danced a drunken Charleston and pretended to be their greatest Gatsby while the country was still on fire.
As we closed out 2019 and welcomed in 2020 it seemed almost the entirety of our country was alight with bushfires. Colloquially known as the ‘Black Summer’ the most recent bushfire season saw some 186,000 square kilometres of Australia blackened, with 5,900 buildings (including 2,779 houses) destroyed and 34 people killed.
The plume of smoke from these devastating fires ultimately made its way across the Tasman, over New Zealand before finding a home in Chile. Remember that? When Australia was so on fire that the smoke (and our porcelain bulldog of a Prime Minister*) fucked off overseas. Yeah, that was January.
We wore masks because the air was full of the burnt remains of 5000 koala habitats. The responsibility of which was shifted from the Federal Government to the State Government to the Rural Fire Service (RFS) to the Greens actively starting fires and ‘not allowing for critical back burning’ despite not being in charge since… ever. They have never been in charge. You know who was in charge?
Gladys #koalakiller Berejiklian.
Yeah. Not her year. Between actively furthering the extinction of one of our most beloved mammals and landing herself in deep deeeeeeep shit with ICAC (you know, not because she and her Government have consistently eroded environmental regulations and funding which caused the bushfires, or the fact that they seem to have a fetish for demolishing stadiums so their mates can rebuild them at a profit… or the fact that the shite rail was brought in over budget and over schedule, but because she failed to disclose her ‘friend with benefits’ who she was also funnelling taxpayer money to) – she’s had a rough go. Poor Gladys. I imagine it’s difficult to sleep when you’re as bent as a contortionists orgy.
In October, as part of her evidence to the ICAC inquiry, Berejiklian admitted that she had been in a “close personal relationship” with controversial former MP Daryl Maguire from 2015 until August 2020. As a result of this revelation, a vote of no-confidence was taken in parliament against Berejiklian. She narrowly survived the vote in the lower house with 47-38, and in the upper house with 21-20, after a deciding vote from the Liberal president.
Then, and let’s not fuck about here, in March we copped a plague. A full-on pandemic. COVID-19.
I don’t know how you make that funny. I guess because the hot takes of ‘it’s a spicy flu’ kinda do a poor job of masking the fact that our way of life has changed in a way that exposed that the very little that we held to be stable, was.
There’s a collective trauma there. Seeing industries, jobs, livelihoods collapse because we couldn’t go out and connect face to face any more. Because it wasn’t safe to hug your friends and family. Because we needed to wear masks to stop this fucking virus from spreading.
Because breathing became deadly.
No amount of homemade banana bread takes the edge off that. I haven’t seen a Tik Tok trend that really makes 1.5 million people dying easier to stomach.
In Australia we’ve amassed 27,965 cases and only 908 deaths. Figures which in compassion tot he rest of the world are astoundingly good. Over in the US they are seeing those types of numbers on a daily basis. In fact just last week they had over 229,000 cases reported in a single day with a total death toll approaching 300,000 since the outbreak.
It’s worth saying that we likely did so well in large part thanks to the benefit of our isolated geography, but our political leaders also jumped on the case hard and fast. Although victoria did have one major bungle, and just this past week NSW also led a couple of international travellers slip the net at Sydney airport.
Ultimately though we survived. We adapted. We learned to work from home. To have dinner dates over Zoom. People got JobKeeper, JobSeeker, JobMaker and heaps of other three word slogans to help keep their heads above water. We all managed to thrive in our ‘new normal’.
Unless you work in the arts, hospitality or freelance in which case the government sent a giant gift-wrapped bouquet of ‘lol get a real job, fucken poors’ before cracking another tin and binging their favourite telly show.
Long, sad irony filled sigh.
I mean, look, for all the bullshit, we did pretty bloody well. We never reached the level of cases and deaths that consumed the Americas and Europe.
Pat on the back us, but it’s easy to forget that the pandemic is still raging and peoples lives are still hanging in the balance. That again, things we thought were stable were not stable.
That some things needed to change.
Black Lives Matter and ‘Civil Unrest’
In May we watched as the full weight of police brutality against minorities was caught on camera. Actually, that’s not really accurate, is it? People got fucking murdered by racists. They got murdered because the racists have gotten away with murder for so long they felt comfortable murdering people on camera.
The streets filled with protests. Demanding, pleading for change. They were met, by and large, with the police brutality they were protesting against. Those protests carried through June, July and August. All the while our leaders wrung their hands and said people should be nicer about how they asked not to be murdered.
2020 Presidential election
In, November, after what felt like the longest political campaign/screamathon pity party, America voted to yeet the rotting carcass of the conman formerly known as President Trump from the White House.
The world breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Because the last four years have been exhausting. The constant barrage of hate-filled rhetoric and political incompetence became normal, and normal becomes permissible. It emboldened our worst instincts to divide and see the world as either us or them.
Which if this year has taught us anything, it should be that we’re all in this shit show together. That we can affect change and take our lives into our own hands, that we have to take on a level of personal responsibility both in service of ourselves but the society we live in.
As we look ahead to Inauguration Day on January 20, we can only hope the USA can get back on track with Joe Biden and Kamala Harris at the helm.
Happy New Year?
So here we are, in December, about to do another New Years and ring in 2021. Hoo-ray.
Let’s all work at making, rather than hoping, it’ll be better than this sweaty, smokey, sneezy, limp shouldered, vitriolic, vacuous, preening, parsimonious utter cunt of a year.