Today is Wednesday December 30th. Kia ora katoa.
What a strange world we live in. Just when we thought there were two safe coronavirus vaccines, (a most welcome Christmas present), just as we thought Joe Biden had been won the US Presidential election, just as we thought we could say goodbye to 2020 and look forward to 2021, we are still in a state of uncertainty. There are definitely approved vaccines – huge advance has been made on that score; Joe Biden definitely won the US Presidential election, and won in the Electoral College (and won the popular vote, needless to say), but Trump remains in office until Biden’s inauguration on January 20th, and he’s doing all he can to throw sand in the gears, by delaying the transition, creating doubt in the legitimacy of the vote, attacking Republicans who dare to not support his fraudulent efforts, and delaying signing the relief act. Part of the frustration comes from not knowing how Trump will react at any time. He probably doesn’t know how he will act. Will he call martial law, as advised by now pardoned Michael Flynn? How will the troops/National Guard react? Will they be loyal to their Commander-in Chief, or to their constitution, to which they’ve taken an oath of loyalty?
Then there are the Georgia runoff elections on January 5th – where does all this money come from? There is another official ceremony on January 6th where the US Congress counts the votes, at session to be chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. What will happen then? We simply don’t know. We all hope that Biden will be inaugurated on January 20th…after that, there’s a lot of putting right to be done, and no doubt there will be huge challenges, but we have much more confidence in the new democratic administration that will take charge.
But overshadowing all this is the fact that a coronavirus variant has arisen in the UK that is much more infectious than previous variants, and while not only wreaking havoc in the UK, it has now been diagnosed in several other countries, including the US (a man in Colorado). So much for the vaccines, then! The race to vaccinate is up against the steady progress of coronavirus – wave four? It inexorably devastates already devastated communities, desperate to get some normalcy in their lives again. So while we rejoiced that our loved ones had survived without becoming ill, we are thrown back into confusion again, as another tidal wave threatens to engulf us all.
Meanwhile, there are things to be thankful for. Two of our grandchildren came around yesterday. We had dinner with some friends last night. It was great to catch up with them, after a dinner-date had been put off twice. It was a beautiful fine day today – not too hot, just nicely warm.
Today I finished A Gentleman in Moscow. What a pleasure it has been to read it. There are many allusions, to Dostoevsky and Chekhov; to Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, to Socrates, to other philosophers, to pianist Vladimir Horowitz (I especially like a recording of him playing the Second Movement of Mozart’s Piano Concerto No.23, music which was used in the film The Death of Stalin). And Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America is also mentioned. This has interested me so much that I listened again to a podcast about it on BBC4, and, failing to obtain a used copy, I have reserved it at the library. There is also much talk of the movie Casablanca. This has been one of the best books I have read in some time. It delighted me from start to finish.
Today we have been invited to Taupo for a birthday party with an aunt who turns 80. Overseas guests will most likely be unable to come, so a local family party will be held. It is very special to be able to come together like this.
It is a funny old time, at present. Many podcasts that I would normally listen to are taking a break, and who can blame them? I will have to listen to BBC4 podcasts again, and learn more history. I do look forward to having a new phone, which will connect to the internet wherever we are.
Many are reviewing 2020, and saying what a bad year it has been. There was a very good summary in this morning’s paper, acknowledging that unemployment has not been as bad here as predicted. I should think not! Where would you rather be right now? I accept it’s been a terrible few months for some, but for me personally, not so bad. What will 2021 bring? After the surprises of 2020, what lies ahead? Ngā mihi.