The last several years have seen the coincidence of three scourges on the U.S. and on humanity in general.
The first was the presidency of Donald Trump who inflicted great damage on the world and especially on the U.S. He did everything he could do to turn our democracy into an autocracy and undid much of the good that had come from the administration of his predecessor, Barrack Obama. Trump ended his reign by inciting mobs to storm the U.S. Capitol and prevent Congress from confirming the election of his opponent, Joe Biden, to the presidency. He will long be remembered as the worst president the U.S. was ever cursed with.
The second coincident tribulation was the onset of the covid-19 pandemic which killed multiple millions worldwide. In the U.S. alone, it accounted for 35 million cases and 612,000 deaths. It disrupted commerce, both national and international, and inflicted economic damage not yet calculated.
And third, the predicted affliction of global warming has started to arrive. Droughts, floods, unprecedented heat, all-consuming fires, and the consequent famine are destroying life all over the planet.
The irony is that each of these tribulations made the others worse. Trump’s refusal to recognize the threat of the pandemic and take action to combat it made the results far more injurious. His administration pretended that global warming was fake and took no action to thwart it. The pandemic, meanwhile, delayed international efforts to tackle climate change. And the inclement weather damage hindered efforts to control the pandemic.
It’s probably too early to calculate the permanent changes to life on the planet that these three curses will bring. Trump’s malign presidency will eventually result in new laws that will prevent such an administration from ever being elected again. The national and international economy will be altered as a result of the pandemic. The only permanent change I can detect so far is that far more people will work from home in the future. The effect on commerce and the hospitality industry is so far undetermined. And as Biden has already made clear, we will hasten our efforts to reduce carbon emissions to slow down the disasters already occurring worldwide.
In sum, we will suffer permanent damage from all three scourges, but we have learned from our experience and will work together to improve.