2020-12-23 13:19:50 来源:参考消息网 责任编辑:郭庆娜

This Year Was Not Supposed to Be Anything Like 2019

今年本不该与2019年相似

Thomas Curwen 托马斯·柯温

2020 was to be nothing like 2019, with its mosque attacks in New Zealand and a fire in Notre Dame, an investigation into the 2016 election and the futile calls for order. We turned the calendar page, and the promise of a new year lay before us.

We had time for everything, and then we had time for nothing — nothing except the virus.

Patricia Dowd of San Jose was 57. She watched her diet, exercised and took no medication, and in early February, she was the first known COVID-19 fatality in the nation.

How quickly then the novel coronavirus mocked our assumptions and challenged our simplest routines. A trip to the market, a drive to drop off the kids at school brought the specter of unfamiliar peril. It left some of us struggling to breathe, others trying to help and most hoping to keep their distance.

Forgotten were the fires that had ravaged Australia, an assassination in Baghdad. Impeachment and acquittal of the president belonged to the past. The theatrics after the State of the Union, anxiety over Brexit, relegated to another time and place.

Many lost all that they had. By the end of April, more than 30 million had filed for unemployment, 23 million were at risk for evictions, and the numbers kept rising. By mid-December, the United States had counted more than 16.1 million coronavirus cases and over 290,000 deaths.

In addition to this terrible accounting, the virus exploited our weaknesses. Inadequate healthcare, inadequate housing, inadequate working conditions and food deserts had left Black, brown and Indigenous communities in mourning.

The tragedy was clear: We could probe the universe and witness stars being born in a distant galaxy. We could find moments of grace: a daffodil placed on body bags, a porch concert in Pasadena, arias rising from the balconies of Rome, the streets of San Diego, the hills of Silver Lake.

But we could do little to alter the course of this disease.

No wonder then that we began to lose patience. Tired of lockdowns, tired of restrictions, we gave this tiredness a name: pandemic fatigue. We knew we were running out of time. Some of us had to take action.

When George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis on May 25, a coalition of the concerned — activists, protesters, families and friends — took to the streets. Eight minutes, 46 seconds became a rallying cry for the reckoning ahead.

As spring turned to summer, summer sparked heat, fires, smog and an endless succession of hurricanes and typhoons that battered our weary coasts.

Centuries of neglect, years of indifference had caught up with us. Once unable to imagine this warming future, we worried that we had squandered the time when we had it and were left now to crank up the AC or take to higher ground.

“I'm feeling great!” the president declared from the White House after falling ill and being treated for COVID-19. If only we felt the same.

Soon, however, November was upon us, and as the darkest winter drew near, nearly 160 million found their way through the gloom. They mailed their ballots. They stood in line. They confirmed their faith in the promise of a more perfect union.

When the counting was over, the most important election in our history was declared the most secure. Trump got 74 million votes, but Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, with 81 million votes, will set a new course for America, and maybe they will have time and, with a vaccine, hope.

Time, we all know, is a measurement of the movement of our planet in space, but in 2020, it became so much more.

2020年应该与2019年截然不同,后者发生了新西兰清真寺袭击事件、巴黎圣母院大火、对2016年美国总统选举的调查以及对秩序的徒劳呼吁。我们翻过日历,呈现在面前的是新的一年带来的希望。

我们做什么都有时间,可是接下来我们的时间什么都做不了——除了与病毒为伴。

圣何塞的帕特里西娅·多德57岁。她注意饮食,锻炼身体,不服用任何药物,可是在2月初,她成为已知的美国第一例新冠肺炎死亡病例。

接下来,新冠病毒如此之快地嘲弄了我们的主观臆断并挑战了我们哪怕最简单的日常行为方式。去趟市场、开车送孩子上学都会带来驱之不散的陌生危险。它让我们有些人呼吸困难,还有人试图帮忙,大多数人则希望保持距离。

肆虐澳大利亚的山火、巴格达暗杀事件都被遗忘。总统遭弹劾又被宣告无罪成了过去。总统发表国情咨文后的夸张言行、英国脱欧引发的焦虑退居另一个时空。

许多人失去了所有。截至4月底,3000多万人申请失业救济,2300万人面临遭驱逐的风险,这些数字还在持续攀升。到12月中旬,美国的新冠肺炎病例已超过1610万例,死亡超29万例。

除了这些可怕的统计数字,病毒还利用了我们的弱点。医疗保障不到位、住房供给不到位、工作条件不到位以及食品缺乏让黑人、棕色人种和原住民群体哀悼生命的逝去。

悲剧一目了然:我们可以探测宇宙,见证一颗又一颗星星在遥远的星系诞生。我们可以感受优雅时刻:摆放在尸袋上的水仙花,帕萨迪纳的门廊音乐会,罗马阳台传出的咏叹调,圣迭戈的街道,锡尔弗莱克的群山。

但是我们对改变这种疾病的进程几乎无能为力。

难怪我们开始失去耐心。厌倦了封闭,厌倦了限制,我们给这种厌倦起了个名字:防疫疲劳。我们知道时间所剩无几,必须有人采取行动。

当乔治·弗洛伊德5月25日在明尼阿波利斯遇害时,一个由活动人士、抗议者、家人和朋友结成的关切者联盟走上街头。让他丧命的8分46秒成为召集未来清算行动的战斗号角。

春去夏来,夏季触发了高温、火灾、雾霾,此外还有没完没了的飓风和台风让我们疲惫不堪的沿海地区遭到重创。

几百年的置之不理、多年的漠不关心让我们深受其害。曾经无法想象这种变暖的未来,我们担心在还来得及的时候却浪费了时间,如今别无选择,只能开动空调或者去往地势更高的地方。

总统在患上新冠肺炎并接受治疗后在白宫宣称:“我感觉棒极了!”要是我们也有同样的感受该有多好。

然而,很快,11月来了,随着最悲惨的冬天日益临近,近1.6亿人找到了穿越阴霾的方式。他们邮寄选票。他们排队投票。他们表达了对更完美联邦的信心。

计票结束后,我们有史以来最重要的这次选举被称为结果最牢靠的一次。特朗普获得了7400万张选票,而得到8100万张选票的乔·拜登和卡玛拉·哈里斯将为美国开辟一条新路,或许他们还来得及,在有了疫苗后还有望取得成功。

众所周知,时间是衡量地球在太空中运动情况的尺度,不过在2020年,它的意义远不止如此。(李凤芹译自美国《洛杉矶时报》网站12月13日文章)

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