The year 2020 was mostly a story of COVID-19, its spread and its consequences. The year began with Dr. Anthony Fauci asserting “The American people should not be worried or frightened by this. It’s very, very low risk to the United States.”

It became apparent this was a highly contagious disease that is serious for the elderly. It has been deadly for more than 330,000 Americans whose deaths were accelerated or caused by the effects of the virus.

This promoted a singular focus on economic lockdowns — government efforts to “flatten the curve” of the spreading virus. COVID-19 then became political as any suggestion of a more balanced response — especially if the proposition came from President Donald Trump — was immediately dismissed as irresponsible and “unscientific.”

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The fact is, any approach weighs some lives against others. The immediacy of daily hospitalizations and death counts overwhelmed concerns about long-term consequences that will undoubtedly shorten the lives of millions who miss immunizations or diagnoses or treatments, not to mention mortality due to increased depression, and the accompanying drug use and suicide.

The summer months brought protests following the death of George Floyd as well as those against lockdown orders — with certain (overwhelmingly if not exclusively Democrat) politicians setting examples that made it hard to take their dictates seriously. After mandating mask wearing and social distancing and limiting how many people could gather, they attended fancy dinner parties, face to face and elbow to elbow. Some, vain and self-important, instructed us by their actions that no mere pandemic could disturb their coiffing as they shut down the salons, saloons and other businesses frequented by everyone else.

We were expected to follow the advice of an expert who warned us against holiday travel and to gather “only with those that live within a household” who was subsequently discovered to have journeyed and had dinner with several generations of her family.

Political views also defined the seriousness of this pandemic. Peaceful anti-lockdown and Second Amendment protests were considered “intimidation” and “potential super-spreaders” while crowded summer protests with the accompanying rioting and looting were a “justifiable risk.” Abortion became an “essential service,” while religious worship was “an unnecessary danger.”

These are the people blaming President Trump for not taking the pandemic seriously. Accusing Trump or even arrogant progressive Democrats and their double standards misses the fact multiple jurisdictions worldwide implemented divergent policies with little difference in outcomes. Could it be this virus was going to spread regardless of our efforts?

As we move to 2021 and Democrats prepare to crack the whip from the White House, these same people are now urging everyone to move on in “acceptance,” “healing” and “unity” — as they make plans to investigate everything Trump, with some even suggesting “going after” Trump supporters.

Should conservatives accept Biden-Harris the way Democrats accepted Trump? No. This crystal ball says Republicans and conservatives in general will be more civil than Democrats have been the past four years.

What can we hope for in 2021?

Please. The end of the pandemic.

What we can expect, however, is predictable.

First, consider Joe Biden’s recent assertion that “the worst of the pandemic is ahead of us” as a set-up for draconian nationwide lockdowns. Then, especially if Democrats control the Senate, expect various problems to be addressed but never solved, renewed assaults on the Bill of Rights, recession or tepid economic growth, higher taxes, more dependency, higher consumer prices associated with more regulation, swamp proliferation with no bureaucratic accountability and taxpayer bailouts for every mismanaged blue city and state.

As always with leftist Democrats, “Past performance is indicative of future results.”

Giese, a Dubuque native, is retired from Jim Giese Commercial Roofing. His email address is jimgiese@me.com.