2021, The Year That Was(n’t)

I once had to use performance ratings (horrid phrase) geared around the word “expectations.” Such as “meets most expectations” or “exceeds expectations.” My and others’ experience with this performance rating system was as expected and maybe I’ll write a blog about it once I can get past the mental scars.

In the meanwhile: 2021, here’s your performance appraisal.

Name: Twenty Twenty-One, Role: Year

Objective 1: Fully Vaccinate at least 70% of US residents against Covid-19. As of 12/27, only 61.8% of the US population was fully vaccinated (source: NPR). You did get a booster out, and approval for 5 – 12 year olds. But then you gave us Omicron. I’ll grudgingly give you a “partially meets expectations” on this one.

2021: Challenging goals, a lot of headwinds, minimal progress.

Objective 2: Peaceful transfer of power from the Trump to the Biden administration. Instead, you gave us a scheme to invalidate the election, including encouraging a mob to storm the Capitol building on January 6th, causing the deaths of five people (source: NY Times). Democracy lived to see another day, weakened and wary. A resounding “did not meet expectations.”

Objective 3: Reduce misinformation on social media. Points for Trump banned from the main sites, the courageous Frances Haugen, and Apple’s “opt out of tracking” feature. However, our government continues to display inertia – too many hearings, not enough action. In fairness the headwinds are considerable (i.e. tech billionaires putting profit ahead of people). I’ll generously give you a “meets most” – you did the best you could.

Objective 4: Pass laws that help people. You were given the CARES act by 2020 but haven’t been able to follow through with enough sustainable law and policy. Yes, the Infrastructure act eventually got through, however the “Build Back Better” act remains stalled and as previously mentioned social media woes persist. As with a lot of your fellow years, you are letting a powerful few or even one (I’m looking at you, Joe Manchin) derail what is good for the many.

Objective 5: Do something, anything, about climate change. The US is back in the Paris accords, and that’s about it. On the whole, the climate change threat has grown, not diminished – for example, in December it was widely reported that new cracks in a key Antarctic ice shelf could accelerate sea level rise. However, making progress on this one is like spitting into tornado-force winds, and you did give us the must-watch movie “Don’t Look Up,” in which Meryl Streep chews the scenery as narcissistic, incompetent, blond President Janie Orleans. Based on the facts, I have to give you a “did not meet,” but will weight this lower in your overall rating.

Overall Rating: Partially Met Expectations. You managed to hold off dystopia & (finally) a good “Dune” movie was made. But it still takes a glacial age to rent a car and ugh, “Meta.”

Favorite quote of the year: ““I look up, see the stars, and have questions. I look down, see my boys, and have answers.” – Scott Galloway ( @profgalloway ) . 2022, my children and grandchildren are looking at you….

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