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Opinion | No pep talk for 2022

Saturday was the first day of a new year, but so what? Really, it’s just another Saturday — except some of us got to take the day off.

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I’m not really in the mood for a pep talk. That’s what many of us do at the first of the year: We talk about the future, how all is bright, that this year will be the best ever . . .

Well, will we?

There’s a really contagious virus ripping through the nation, and through Alabama, too. Yet, many of us – far too many – remain unvaccinated. And regardless of the science, of what we have learned in two years of a pandemic, lots of people, for whatever reason, just won’t get vaccinated. So, because of the unvaccinated, the coronavirus can evolve. There are always unvaccinated people to infect, and in those, the opportunity to change into a new variant.

Yet, some people remain unmoved. And some of them get sick. And some of them die. Because they are uninformed and stubborn. And some of us, the vaccinated, the boosted, also get sick with breakthrough infections. For the vast majority of us, symptoms are “mild,” but for a few, it’s their death sentence.

Because people are uninformed and stubborn.

So, this isn’t a pep talk for 2022. To me, Saturday was just another day during a deadly pandemic, another day I must be ultra-careful if I have to go out because my wife, her immune system compromised on multiple levels, cannot get this virus.

No pep talk from here. I’ll return to classes at UAB on Jan. 11, just like I left classes in early December – in-person but masked. In the classroom, but, hey, kid, don’t approach me within six feet. Just shout from there; I’ll probably hear you. Sorry, we can’t hug or shake hands. Too dangerous.

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Too dangerous to shake hands. To hug.

This is a dangerous world.

No pep talk for 2022. We have midterm elections this year, which means whatever it means. There are so many lies flying around, few people are going to sift through the crap to find the truth. They’ll just follow whatever politician they adore; the truth be damned. Because they’re lazy and don’t want to know the truth. The truth scares them. It isn’t always the truth they want to believe.

They can’t handle the truth.

Saturday was the first day of a new year, but so what? Really, it’s just another Saturday – except some of us got to take the day off. But we’ll be back at work today or Monday, and another year-long slog starts.

The one-year anniversary of the coup attempt by Trump supporters comes Jan. 6. Republicans have worked hard to make Jan. 6 no big deal. It is a big deal, but, really, does anybody really care? A minority of Americans – but maybe as many as half of them – seem content to allow this illegal interference in a presidential transition just slide by. We’re just learning how deeply some Republicans were involved in the overthrow attempt.

It’s awful, right? Yet, to some, it’s OK. Just fine. As long as they “win,” it doesn’t matter how they do it.

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What happened last Jan. 6 is not OK. Actually, it’s downright frightening. It is, however, our reality.

And it’s another reason there will be no pep talk from me.

The year 2022 will have to do it alone. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but never say 2022 can’t be worse than 2021. It can be. Most likely will be.

I’m not going to be a cheerleader for that.

Happy New Year? I don’t think so.

Written By

Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes a column each week for the Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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