As I write this on the first day of 2020, I’m not certain that a “Happy New Year” is in order. This new year has a good chance of becoming what I would call a precipice year the same way that 1775, 1850, 1861, 1877, 1941 and 1968 were. If one reads enough history, one will soon learn that as a country we have not always done the right things. However, at least in the long run, right has prevailed over wrong.
In 1775, we began a long, brutal armed insurrection against the British Empire, and against steep odds, won.
In 1850, we compromised on the slavery question, which led to the deepest divisions our country as ever known. There, wrong won over right.
The divisions spurred on in 1850 led to the cataclysm of 1861 and the beginning of a devastating war. But at least the right side won.
1877 saw the end of Reconstruction and the wholesale abandonment of African Americans to a brutally repressive “New South.”
Our greatest outside threat came in 1941 at the hands of a well-armed Japan and Germany. What many often forget is that at least on paper, the odds were not in our favor winning that war.
And then there was 1968: a year of unfiltered hatred over both race and a divisive war, coupled with riots and assassinations.
Now here we are in 2020. Less civil, more angry, and more tolerant of lies and malevolent manipulation from both inside and outside our borders. We are indeed in need of some good luck again, but we need to make sure we make it for ourselves.
I’m Andrew Nelson and that’s my perspective.