For the 2019-2020 academic year, I decided to study abroad in Glasgow, Scotland. Sadly, coronavirus cut my year abroad short as I was called back to the U.S. in early March. Following my return, American anti-lockdown and anti-mask protests commenced. These demonstrations were embarrassing to watch on the news, much less to discuss with my international friends. Only in America is mask wearing, social distancing, and quarantining able to incite such radical indignation. I still cannot fathom how implementing combative measures against a global pandemic turned into a partisan issue. Coronavirus does not discriminate between Republicans and Democrats or liberals and conservatives. It is a hazard to us all and should be treated as such.

My mortification intensified as 2020 dragged on and additional disasters struck. How can the U.S. be so industrially developed yet so socially primitive? I am shocked and abhorred by how racist America still is. Obviously, I knew racism subsisted in modern society, but my privilege and upbringing led me to believe it had been steadily diminishing. This country needs to do better. There is absolutely no excuse or justification for bigotry in this day and age.

For me, the breaking point of 2020 coincided with the death of feminist icon and esteemed Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg. The day RBG died, I felt a fear I had never quite felt before. We could not mourn RBG’s death in a way that was befitting of her character and legacy, because the political implications of her passing sparked a national panic. Without a progressive to balance the political leanings of the Supreme Court, civil liberties such as women’s rights, healthcare, and LGBT rights are now at risk. Amy Coney Barrett’s subsequent confirmation was predictable but nevertheless disappointing. Now that there is a distinct conservative majority on the Supreme Court, I fear for women, racial minorities, the LGBTQ+ community, the working class, people with pre-existing conditions, immigrants, and future generations.  

This disaster of a year has revealed how fanatical, racist, apathetic, and politically corrupt America truly is. That being said, public outrage over such social injustice and political depravity has given me hope for national redemption. As painful as this year has been, I believe it needed to happen. Now that all of our mistakes and failures have been exposed, we can begin to rectify them through extensive socio-political change. 2020 has been a learning experiencing, one of which this country should never forget.