We sometimes forget that though 2020 was hell for some, it was a banner year for others. If you escaped Covid, if your income and assets were protected, if the people you now had an excuse not to spend time with more than compensated for those you would have liked to, then you’re a winner. And if so, you’re hardly alone. Well, you might be, but you know what I mean.
There are hundreds of millions of people the world over for whom 2020 was the year they had the chance to stop, take stock, and reset, because they had no choice not to. These moments are as precious as they are rare. When they come around they’re not to be squandered. Surely there’s something you’ve been doing that you’ve been too busy doing to wonder whether you’d still ratify your doing it. It might be a loveless marriage, a career that’s become tedious, a friendship that really isn’t. Or it might just be that wallpaper that has to go.
Plato thought the state is the individual writ large. It’s not, but there are some parallels. For example, actions have consequences, but so do elections. For another, race relations are relationships. And some people think the murder of George Floyd has been an opportunity to rethink those relationships. The pandemic has forced us to rethink how we care for our own health, but also, in America at least, the distribution of health care at large. And, finally, some people, especially in America, think it’s time the national wallpaper has to go.
A nation’s wallpaper is made up of the statues in its parks and the names of its military bases. Wallpaper is important. Couples get divorced over wallpaper. So do nations.