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2020 closest to 1918 and 1932

The Christmas Season of 2020 brought the Great Conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn. It also brought death tolls that rise every day, governments in Frankfort and Washington that cannot agree even when it seems there should be no dispute.

It's the holiday that caps a year that rivals 1918 and 1932.

There will be more than enough retrospective when 2020 is finally in the rear view mirror. There have been 1200 books published so far on the Trump presidency. There will be more coming as the administration ends in an orgy of mea culpas and what ifs.

Right now, most of us are very tired of the posturing on both sides.

The twig held out by offering a one time payment of $600 to some Americans has been jerked up by the President who woke up from his muttering of an election stolen to propose $2000 to Americans. After Congress has adjourned for the holiday. If past is prologue, the threat/promise will be an idle one and he will sign the negotiated bill. And get his name put on the checks.

This Christmas holds out hope that 1918 didn't offer. That pandemic, mistakenly called the Spanish flu, affected the young and healthy first. One doctor reported he saw patients twice - once when they were admitted to hospital and again when he signed their death certificate. Often in the same day.

The response of government was to initially downplay the deadliness and finally to take limited measures to halt the spread. There were masks made of gauze and anti maskers back then. The 1918 flue wasn't conquered as much as it stuttered to a halt.

1932 was the year that Americans got to decide who could lead them out of the Great Depression. The stock market dropped in 1929 but the effects of the financial collapse took time to reach ordinary Americans. Hoover's attempts to address unemployment, business losses and poverty in America were as ineffective as current attempts by 2020 governments.

The election of Franklin Roosevelt and his New Deal, despised by his Republican opponents, brought hope of better days around the bend. The massive public works program produced schools, post offices, government buildings. FDR's alphabet soup of programs were not always successful but they were doing something.

The roll out of multiple vaccines under this current administration is a success story that should not be diminished in partisan bickering.

When the new administration takes office, the pandemic will continue to rage. But like 1932, there's hope. Somebody will be doing something.


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