Swamp Rabbit whistled to summon the birds and beasts of the ponds, mudflats and woodlands. “Listen up, critters,” he shouted. “Here’s what’s happening.”
He read aloud from a list of calamities that have made 2020 a landmark year:
- Twin plagues of Trumpism and Covid-19, both of which surged to their worst levels in the final quarter of the year.
- A Republican campaign to cast doubt on the soundness of the U.S. Constitution and the credibility of the electoral process.
- A Donald Trump-led effort to undo what’s left of our environmental protection laws, even as glaciers melted and fires consumed whole forests and many species died out.
- The country’s third and worst recession of the 21st century so far, closing thousands of businesses and putting millions of people out of work, made possible in large part by Republican reluctance to fight the spread of Covid-19.
- A dramatic increase in shoplifting of necessities, a consequence of soaring unemployment and Republican opposition to further government aid to those hurt by the economic downturn.
“And that ain’t the half of it,” Swamp Rabbit shouted. “The question is, will we make progress next year, or is the idea of progress just one of them illusions that the peeps latched on to because America could put a man on the moon and make sixty different brands of cornflakes?”
An eagle circled high above my shack. Turtles stuck their necks out. Geese cackled at a raccoon peeking from inside a hollow log. The swamp cats gathered. And so on; my swamp neighbors are nothing if not diverse.
“How many of you critters still believe in the idea of progress?” Swamp Rabbit shouted. “A show of hands, please.”
None of them responded, probably because none of them have hands. (Swamp Rabbit is only barely human, but he does have hands.)
Does Swamp Rabbit think Joe Biden represents progress, or is he worried Biden might pave the way for another Trumpian president because the Democratic establishment is still too dependent on rich donors and out of touch with the needs of working-class constituents?
“Biden ain’t likely to try to stage a coup if he runs again and gets beat,” he said. “That’s progress, I guess.”