Op-Ed: The Annus Horribilis 2020, a year for the ages

– James Baldwin

“I’ve often wondered why everyone loves to read about disasters and suffering?”

This was the first time in history a religion granted this authority to a head of a church. Due to the long-standing feud between the Church of England and the Roman Catholics, Anglican theologians claimed, “The doctrine of papal authority to make decisions is out of line with other religions.” They chastised the year of this decree of “Papal infallibility” as the “annus horribilis,” or a “horrible year.”

The Counter-Reformation was a response to the 1517 Protestant Reformation. It began in 1545 and ended in 1648 with the conclusion of Europe’s religious wars. Numerous clarifications were made in church policy in reaction to the Reformation. In 1870, the Catholic Church defined the pope as the highest authority to interpret and orchestrate all existing critical religious doctrine.

There has been an ambiguous global debate if 2020 was the worst year in recent history? Surly it must rank up there with 1349, when the Black Death wiped out half of Europe. And it certainly can be compared to 1918, when the “Spanish flu” killed over 100 million people worldwide. It looks as if global scholars have respectfully spurned the Queen by naming 2020 as their “Annus Horribilis.”

In 1992, the 40th anniversary of her reign over England, Queen Elizabeth said, “1992 has turned out to be an “Annus Horribilis.” She branded 1992 as a year she chose not to remember because three royal marriages collapsed, a fire destroyed more than 100 rooms at Windsor Castle, and a major sex scandal involving the Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, disgraced the country and monarchy.

France, the UK and Spain implemented lockdowns in March. The U.S. soon did the same. U.S. stocks tanked with Wall Street suffering its biggest loss since the March 9, 2008, financial meltdown. To avoid a bigger crisis, the Federal Reserve pumped liquidity into markets to stabilize its balances.

Discovered in Wuhan, China, in November 2019, the Covid-19 virus created the greatest global crisis since World War II. It prompted worldwide lockdowns and caused a global economic crisis. Dr. Li Wenliang, who discovered the virus, was silenced by Chinese Communists and died in 2020.

“It even crowded indoor cats, forcing them to share their space with reluctant humans.”

According to the International OECD, in the first three months of 2020, world economies contracted by 3.4%. The International Labor Organization reported that the average income fell by over 10% in the first nine months of 2020, due to forced shutdowns and businesses struggling to survive.

In Australia, massive fires roared throughout the summer season, burning 103,000 square kilometers, about the size of South Korea. The fires created one of the worst wildlife disasters in history that killed over 3 billion animals including 60,000 koalas. Over 87,000 buildings and homes were destroyed. At least 445 people including nine firefighters were killed in the fire. Smoke filled the skies for half the year.

– James Felton

Although there is some economic trade-offs for Britain, they got the better part of the deal. They maintained access to their target trade markets and regained complete control of their borders.

Britain left the EU on Jan. 31. UK’s open markets, and its relationship with the EU in particular, heavily depressed its labor market for domestic talent by allowing unchecked waves of immigrants. As the strongest member of the EU, other countries now fear this could possibly totally nix the EU.

“Hong Kong has been put in handcuffs by the Red Chinese and lost all independence.”

China ended Hong Kong’s autonomy in 2020. It enacted laws against defying Communist rule. Hong Kong’s citizens reacted violently and China backed down. In June, China came back again with severe laws against subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign countries.

On Aug. 4, the accidental detonation of dangerous chemicals in Beirut killed over 200 people, left another 300,000 instantly homeless and devastated the struggling Lebanese economy. State negligence was blamed for the fatal blast. Prime Minister Hassan Diab as well as three ministers were charged with criminal acts. Lebanon was already in financial meltdown with mass poverty.

– Christopher Patten

Violent protests in the U.S. in the wake of the death of George Floyd spread across the globe. The U.S. had over 4,700 Black Lives Matter demonstrations by June 6. Half a million people protested at over 550 locations across the country. The Justice Department estimates that more than 700 law enforcement officers were injured and there were at least 40 deaths during the nationwide protests.

French school teacher Samuel Paty in October was murdered by a radical Islamist as he showed caricatures of Prophet Mohammed in a civics class. France has used caricatures to mimic various religious and political authorities for years. President Macron promised to combat radical Islamism on French soil, which prompted new Muslim political unrest throughout France, a Catholic nation.

In Bristol, Britain, protesters toppled a statue of slave trader Edward Colston. In Belgium, protesters destroyed statues of King Leopold II, known for his brutality in the Republic of Congo. Violent riots against Paris police over the death of Adama Traoré, a 24-year-old Black man who died in 2016, spread to Marseille, Lyon and Lille, where numerous injuries occurred as 10,000 people protested.

Fox News reported insurance experts calculated the BLM protests eclipsed the 1992 Los Angeles riots, making them the most expensive civil disturbance in U.S. history. The 1992 LA riots that followed the acquittal of police officers in the Rodney King beating cost well over $2 billion in 2020 dollars.

The media, pollsters, and radical collectivists distorted facts and statistics throughout the campaign to dethrone established politicians and replace them with socialists and identity activists. Although they succeeded in defeating Donald Trump, the GOP defied their attempts and won key races in the House and Senate. Pundits now question if we’ll ever have a legitimate election year again.

In America, the 2020 presidential election proved as revolutionary as quarantines. Fear of infection, frustration over weeks of forced isolation and exhaustion from a bitter presidential race put voters in a hostile mood over the election. As states arbitrarily mailed out ballots, the transition to mail-in balloting exposed numerous flaws in state registrars to efficiently authenticate and count all ballots. Each state flew by the seat of its pants, and many Americans lost total confidence in the system.

“America is never wholly herself unless she is engaged in high moral principle.”

Amid the global death, destruction, dissension, recessions, political and social unrest and the media’s biased and half-truth reporting in our nation, history will show America stood tallest of all others on the globe. We showed the world it was the strong economy our leaders built before the pandemic that helped America survive “Annus Horribilis,” while others fell to tragedy, depression and despair.

– George Bush
By William Haupt III | The Center Square
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Reposted with permission

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