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Ethics & Religion
Column #2,106
December 29, 2021
21 Good Things in 2021
By Mike McManus

Nearly 400,000 American died from COVID-19 in 2021, an increase from last year.

However, the Washington Post editorial board was able to identify 21 good news items, which make sense to me:

1. Vaccines by Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech and Johnson & Johnson were medical triumphs achieved at record speed. After a year of people being isolated from one another, vaccination restores a more normal life.

2. Innovations abounded in telemedicine and remote work.

3. A fresh start: President Biden was inaugurated, promising an era of healing and global leadership.

4. Curbing emissions: The U.S. re-entered the Paris climate agreement. An executive order this month tasked government with reaching net-zero emissions by 2050.

5. Protecting our environment. We celebrate the White House protecting Indigenous tribes? sacred land and delicate ecosystems such as ?Bears Ears? and other monuments.

6. A more diverse White House: This year saw the country?s first female vice president ? as well as its first Black and South Asian one in Kamala Harris, along with its first female Treasury Secretary in Janet Yellen and its first Native American Cabinet secretary in Deb Haaland at the Interior Department.

7. The coup failed. Lame-duck President Donald Trump sparked a violent insurrection at the National Capitol on January 6. The good news: Congress came back into session and Vice President Mike Pence rejected pressure to overturn the legitimate 2020 election.

8. The few brave Republicans: The Republican Party mostly indulged in the ?big lie? of a stolen election. But a principled few refused to fall in line ? Reps. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) and Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) deserve praise for speaking out against the GOP?s corrupt new orthodoxy.

9. Infrastructure Reform: After years of empty promises from both parties, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sen Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) pushed a massive $1.2 trillion infrastructure package through Congress that President Biden happily signed.

10. Worker empowerment: A record number of people quit their jobs in 2021 since there were so many job openings ? enabling them to demand better pay.

11. Entrepreneurship: Americans are starting businesses at the fastest pace in years. There has been an especially large jump of people working for themselves.

12. Cultural Innovation: The movie revival of ?West Side Story? won critical acclaim and honored the original while showing new respect for Puerto Rican culture, and sensitively explored racial power dynamics missing in the 1961 film.

13. Free Britney: Britney Spears was released from a cruel and unjust conservatorship. Her testimony in court made achingly clear the fact that the singer was subject to callous treatment from the media at the peak of her career.

14. Lessons in compassion. Simone Biles and Naomi Osaka spoke out during the Olympics about their own psychological struggles ? the gymnastics and tennis phenom both stepped back from competition, choosing what they knew was best for them, rather than buckling to society?s demands.

15. The Chauvin verdict: Derek Chauvin was convicted of all three counts in the murder of George Floyd ? whose death when the then Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes ? which set off a summer of protests against to too-frequent exercise of anti-Black police brutality nationwide.

16. Another independence day: Juneteenth was made a national holiday. June 19 is the anniversary of the 1865 day when enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas finally heard of the Emancipation Proclamation issued two years before. Many Blacks consider it their real independence day.

17. Farewell to Confederate relics: The Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue in Richmond was finally taken down this year. This relic of the post-Confederate era didn?t deserve such a place of honor. Similar monuments to Stonewall Jackson and others on Monument Avenue were also removed.

18. Cuomo resigns: Another point for accountability: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) resigned following revelations of serial sexual harassment, showing that even the most powerful men can?t get away with abusing their power. At least, not always.

19. Exploring Mars: A helicopter called Ingenuity lifted off the surface of Mars, representing an opportunity for exploration whose import dwarfs the small but mighty machine.

20. A near miss: A less friendly missive from space arrived this month when a surprise asteroid almost hit Earth. The good news is that it missed!

21. And last: All the same, let?s not forget the very best thing about this year. It?s almost over!

Happy New Year to all of my readers! May you enjoy happiness and joy throughout 2022!


Copyright (c)2021 Michael J. McManus, a syndicated columnist and past president of Marriage Savers. To read past columns, go to Hit Search for any topic.


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