You can go ahead and kiss my lily-white ass.

Warning: This post is peppered profusely with profanity; 2020 deserves no less. If your skin is thin, read no further. If, on the other hand, you’re the kind of person who appreciates a well-timed F-bomb, enjoy.

As years go, 2020 has been “a bastard-coated bastard with bastard filling.”

That’s paraphrasing Dr. Perry Cox, played by John C. McGinley on “Scrubs,” describing “most people.” Based on what we’ve seen and been through this year, he’s at least within social distancing range of correct.

Screenshot from "Scrubs" featuring Dr. Perry Cox
Click here or on the image to watch.

I mean, right here in the United States more than 74 million people voted to re-elect president* Donald J. Trump. The only redeeming part of that figure is that about 7 million more people chose decency, reason and true leadership by voting for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

That aside, if ever there was a year that deserved the single-finger salute and a kick in its sorry ass on its way out the door, it’s 2020. If for no other reason than the 1.81 million people who didn’t live to see the rest of us do it, 2020 has been one messed-up fuckstick.

Several weeks ago I promised to put together a list of lists for 2020, saying we’d give this shitty year the “kiss-off it deserves.” Thank you to the handful of people who submitted suggestions.

The truth is, aside from the positive-leaning categories, this post could be one word long:

TRUMP

Period. ’Nough said. Mic drop.

But I’ve seen that name WAY too many times over the past five years or so, and besides, if I was going to do that I’d be far too tempted to just write… 

MOTHERFUCKER

…underneath a photo of the #OrangeMenace and hit publish. However. Mike Pence has the corner on “mother” and its derivatives, so I decided to leave that alone and put together the list after all. In doing so, I’ve limited myself to using “Trump” only once, even though the son of a bitch could be #1 in every single one of the negative categories.

So, without further ado, here are the 20 X’s “…of the Year” for 2020. How has 2020 SUCKED? Let us count the ways…

Tragedy of the Year

There are so many loathsome events, incidents, events and crises to choose from, but top of the list obviously has to be:

The Coronavirus/Covid-19 Pandemic – The death figure above includes, 343,000 U.S. citizens, thanks to Trump’s self-serving mishandling of the pandemic and the culpability of his GOP enablers. 

The Climate Crisis – As we huddled in our homes, trying to slow the Covid spread, governments, companies and people around the world continued to spew filth into the atmosphere, thereby dooming us even more assuredly to more pain, suffering and epidemics in the all-too-near future. This is an unfolding crisis. If we don’t make some drastic but necessary changes like, RIGHT NOW, we’re all fucked; compared to 2050, 2020 will look like a happy-go-lucky cakewalk in the park.

Deaths at the Hands of Cops – The deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were just the most high-profile. People of color continue to be killed in our streets and neighborhoods. It’s not a 2020 phenomenon, but one that goes back centuries.

The Housing/Hunger Crises – Along with the pandemic and the federal government’s anemic response to it – I’d like to tell Congresspeople to shove the measly $600 up their self-serving asses – people in the United States are losing their homes and don’t have enough to eat. While other nations have been giving their citizens monthly stipends to get them through the pandemic, the U.S. government has provided one pathetic check, and now Congresspeople want to provide a second that’s even more pathetic.

Irritant of the Year

This one’s too easy… FreeDumb wins, hands down. Actually, the winner is people who refuse to wear masks in public during a pandemic, but FreeDumb is so much more fun. Except that it’s not. It’s cost all of us, big time. Trumpsters and other science deniers, soon to be joined by anti-vaxxers, have doomed way too many people to early graves.

Assholes.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t include here the submission from my good friend Ed:

“Please include North Dakota’s political leadership on the state and federal levels. Everyone who denied science and exposed that view is complicit in the deaths of thousands of people. (As for) stupidest, include those North Dakotans who did not adhere to the rules of social distancing and mask wearing.”

Couldn’t agree more, Ed. Thanks for playing.

Person of the Year

Stacey Abrams. Another mic drop.

By registering 800,000 new voters in Georgia, most of them black, this strong, powerful, highly intelligent woman managed to turn the state blue for Biden-Harris. That hasn’t happened since 1992, and it’s only happened twice out of the previous 10 presidential elections. We’ll be seeing more of her, and that’s a damn good thing.

Dr. Anthony Fauci. Duh. In fact, if I were less political, Fauci would be at the top of this list. The man has become an icon of health, safety and reason during the pandemic. Too bad the people who needed to listen to him didn’t.

Song of the Year

“March March” by The Chicks. 

To truly appreciate the power of my top pick, you need to watch the video. It’s an anthem that celebrates the power of one person, as an “army of one,” joining forces with hundreds of thousands of others in peaceful protest to initiate and (hopefully) force change. From women’s suffrage to civil rights, Vietnam to Black Lives Matter, nothing but the determination of one person, joined with others, has ever been able to change anything. Appropriately, particular attention is paid to Black Lives Matter protesters who are, in fact, fighting for their lives.

Screenshot from "March March" video by The Chicks
Video for “March March” by The Chicks. Click here or on the image to watch.

An honorable mention in this category is “Livin’ in a Ghost Town” by The Rolling Stones. 

Yeah, they’re old, but they can still rock. I recommend you watch the video for this song, as well. It perfectly captures the desolation and isolation of the pandemic and what we’ve been going through since March 2020.

Screenshot from "Livin' in a Ghost Town" by The Rolling Stones
“Livin’ in a Ghost Town” video by The Rolling Stones. Click here or on the image to watch.

Advocacy Group/Movement of the Year

So many organizations and movements have legitimate claims to the top spot here – DemCast, 350.org, Fair Fight, MoveOn, World War Zero – but in the context of impacting society in 2020, here in the United States, at least, it’s a tie between Black Lives Matter and Sunrise Movement. 

Following the death of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, Black Lives Matter organized, marched and has kept police brutality at the forefront of the nation’s consciousness for months. Hopefully, Black Lives Matter and other, like-minded organizations can keep the intertwined issues of equity, social justice and police reform in front of the rest of us for months to come, years if that’s what it takes. We the people must finally address wrongs centuries in the making that sadly continue to play out in this country on a daily basis.

Some may question the selection of Sunrise Movement, but I believe it belongs in the top spot for its work to remove the current resident of 1600 Pennsylvania from office. Sunrise motivated young people like they’ve never been motivated before and, what’s more, turned them out to vote. They made a huge difference, along with Black voters, in getting rid of a wanna-be dictator. Are they thrilled with Biden-Harris? No. But Biden, Harris and the rest of us owe Sunrise Movement and it’s members our gratitude.

Group of the Year

This is a group that’s not really a group but still deserves recognition – women leaders. Women leaders around the world showed up big time in 2020 to slow and in some cases stop the spread of coronavirus, and in the process they showed up their male counterparts. They did a heck of a lot more than that, of course; for our purposes, let’s just say that in the future I hope we “Put a Woman in Charge.”

Screen shot from Keb Mo' music video for "Put a Woman in Charge" for women leaders post
Keb Mo performs “Put a Woman in Charge.” Click here or on the image to watch.

Demographic of the Year

Black voters take this one, just like they took the 2020 presidential election to save our republic from autocracy. Black women, especially, deserve a shout-out; nine out of 10 female black voters cast ballots for Biden-Harris.

Quote of the Year

“It’s going to disappear. One day — it’s like a miracle — it will disappear.”

That was Dumbass-in-Chief Donald J. Trump, speaking at a White House briefing on Feb. 27, 2020 in reference to coronavirus. And that was only the first time the dumbass uttered those utterly asinine words. According to CNN, by the end of October he’d made the same claim at least 38 times. And here we are at the end of the year with 343,000 of our fellow citizens in early graves. 

He knew. He lied to protect himself. He is a murderer. It’s that simple.

Jackass of the Year

Since we’ve already given the #OrangeMenace the Quote of the Year, this one goes to Rudy Giuliani

IV Words forwarded a message to Rudy this past month – check it out.

I don’t need to go through a list of Giuliani’s antics; surely you’ve read or heard about the majority of them already. Suffice it to say he’s been leading seditious activities designed to overthrow a lawful election and damaging U.S. democracy with every fart in front of a state legislative committee. His own daughter wrote an op-ed saying her father is a jerk and urging people to vote against his boss. And he held a press conference about the most momentous presidential election of our lifetimes in front of a landscaping company adjacent to a sex shop. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

Book of the Year

“Winning the Green New Deal:  Why We Must, How We Can” edited by Sunrise Movement. The description is right on – “This book of essays collects some of the greatest minds of the decade on the subject and presents a clear roadmap for what the Green New Deal is, why it’s important, and how to win it.”

Read it. Live it. Dare I say it? Yes. Evangelize it.

International Leader of the Year

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, whose actions and policies stopped Covid in her country, is my international leader of the year. She was decisive, firm and based her decisions on science. As Covid rages uncontrolled throughout our country, I have to ask: anyone else – Lord of the Rings fans included – want to move to New Zealand?

Nation of the Year

Canada. 

Why? Why not, eh? Ya hoser.

Canada is fucking awesome. Even though it shares a border with the country that’s had the most fucked-up coronavirus response on the globe (see FreeDumb, above) and has the highest infection rates in the world, Canada has gotten along just fine, thank you. 

Over the past 10 months, what the late, great Robin Williams said about Canada has come to mind: 

“You are the kindest country in the world. You are like a really nice apartment over a meth lab.”

I’ve been reminded of it often this year as a variant of the kindly joke has made the rounds on social media:

“Canada must feel like it’s living above an insane asylum.”

Fuckin’ A, man, Fuckin’ A.

And let’s not forget the swoon-inducing hair flip. That Justin Pierre James Trudeau has got it goin’ on.

So, yeah, I choose Canada. Thanks, neighbors to the north, for putting up with our bullshit and being pretty doggone nice despite how vile and stupid we Americans (as a group) can be.

Goodbye 2020 cartoon by Dave Whamond
For more by Dave Whamond, click here or on the cartoon.

Professionals of the Year

Nurses are tops in 2020 in my book. Anyone who works in a healthcare setting, from the people who clean the rooms to technicians to the nurses and doctors who have been, and still are, on the front line of care are awesome, but no one is there more often and more unrelentingly than nurses. Covid has created an onslaught the likes of which none of them has seen before, and it keeps on coming. To do what they do, to see what they see, to suffer what they suffer day in and day out and keep going back to do it again… they truly are heroes. We need to be cognizant of the fact that this fight is exacting a tremendous toll on them, and they’re going to need our help, patience and understanding from now until Covid-19 is finally “under control” and beyond.

Overused Phrase / Term of the Year

Alyse wins this one with “But I will say this…,” a phrase that drove her mad all year long. She was one of the few who responded to the call for entries, so, yeah, she wins.

Thank you, Alyse.

Honorable mentions go to my own choices of “double down” and “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but…”

“Double down” has been with us throughout this presidency, with the media using it more and more and more and more and more frequently with the passage of time. Besides the sheer repetition and the laziness of not finding another way of conveying the same message, it’s a gambling phrase. I find it disturbing that decisions and policies made on my behalf are granted no more significance than a blackjack hand. Although, one has to admit that government through dice toss would probably be just as beneficial for common citizens as what we’ve experienced these past several years.

As for “I don’t know who needs to hear this, but…,” I’ve seen it at the beginning of hundreds of social posts this past year. Do me a favor – if you don’t know who needs to hear it, don’t fucking say it.

TikTok Post of the Year

I talk a good TikTok game, but I’m not on it enough to share the good ones. If you think of some after reading this, let me know. Meanwhile, moving on…

Bonehead Move of the Year

Withdrawing from the Paris Accord. In the ranks of stupid things the #OrangeMenace has done to fuck over the country and the world, this is tops. According to the United Nations International Panel on Climate Change, we have less than 10 years to adopt policies and take actions that will literally save humanity from destruction, and the benchmarks in the Paris Accord weren’t even aggressive enough to get the job done. But they were steps in the right direction, and the United States needed to stay on the path.

Dishonorable mention goes to the 19 Republican attorneys general, including North Dakota AG Wayne Stenehjem, who signed on to a bogus lawsuit to overturn election results in the swing states of Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, which all went for Biden-Harris. Traitors all, not to mention supreme fucksticks. Fortunately, the U.S. Supreme Court bitch-slapped the sons-a-bitches. They should, at the very least, be disbarred.

Understatement of the Year

“This could get bad.” – every public health and infectious disease expert in the United States in March 2020

Idea / Policy Proposal of the Year

The Green New Deal. We need it. Our children and grandchildren need it. It’s smart, it’s fair and, no, it’s not too much to bite off at one time. I don’t know how many times I and others have to say this, but we don’t have any other choice!

Shelter-in-Place Pastime of the Year

For me, it’s been writing blog posts. In fact, I’ve been doing this when I should have been spending more time on what, you know, actually pays the bills – my freelance business. No regrets, though.

Best Outcome of the Year

This category is also a tie, between Kamala Harris being elected vice president and the development and approval of Covid vaccines prior to the end of the year.

As for the Covid vaccines – WHEW! We now have some real hope for 2021, Trumpsters, science deniers and anti-vaxxers be damned. 

Harris broke all kinds of glass ceilings when she became vice president-elect. First woman. First African American woman. First Asian woman. As a guy who’s raising two daughters, I couldn’t be happier about this. I’m fairly happy as a progressive, too, even though I would have preferred someone like Sen. Bernie Sanders. Harris is progressive compared to Biden, so I’m glad she’ll be at the table.

Editorial cartoon about GOP "drinking the Kool-Aid" by Tim Eagen
Tim Eagen cartoon – The GOP drinks the Kool-Aid; http://www.timeagan.com/http://www.timeagan.com/

So, Yeah… Fuck Off, 2020!

And that’s it. We made it. We lost way too many good people unnecessarily, and put up with way too much shit from way too many assholes, but we persisted.

Which brings us to a bonus category –

Most Underappreciated Goal of the Year

The name of the game for 2020, which was anything but a game, was…

Survive.

Too many people didn’t seem to get that. It hasn’t been about getting kids back to school, being able to attend concerts or once again hitting the road for vacations. Nor has it been about “getting back to normal” because our previous normal will never exist again. And since this pandemic is far from over, the goal for 2021 remains the same.

Do the right things, stay home, give this virus the respect it deserves.

Survive. 

See you on the flip side.

Black outlined graphic indicating copyright 2020 Martin C. Fredricks IV

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Featured cartoon by Pat Byrnes.

Post also featured in The Daily Briefing by Prairie Action ND

Screen shot of IV Words in Prairie Action ND's daily briefing 1-4-21

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