I’m sure we are all delighted that 2021 is finally here. And there is both good and bad news about that. The good news is 2020 is over. The bad news is the pandemic has not gone anywhere as it continues to be front and center in the news.
The beginning of 2021 had an auspicious start when on January 6, protesters stormed our nation’s Capitol. I am sure many of you were glued to the television as I was, watching another instance of division in America. I think we all hope life returns to normal; that the fighting stops or that there is some sort of semblance of normalcy sometime soon. At the time of me writing this, the protestors have been stopped, curfews are in place, and the House and Senate are debating the Electoral College into the night.
Whether you felt the elections were fair or not, the bigger question should be, “Will America prevail as the world’s trusted democracy? Can it? Or is this the beginning of the end?”
Good News and Bad News
I believe in America, the institutions and the people who inhabit it. We will pull through this. The year 2021 could be a pivotal year for America. All we can do is press on and keep calm, and work to be more tolerant of others with differing views from our own. Unfortunately, the bad news doesn’t stop with the pandemic or the unrest in our country. Within our industry, subcontractors reported that bidding has been slowing down. However, many architects and even general contractors say that things are starting to look up—this indeed is good news.
The economy was doing well before the pandemic and unlike other times when the economy suffered due to poor banking practices or artificially inflated stocks, this time we should have a sound footing to build on. Consider reports that state Americans were saving an average of 12 percent pre-pandemic and it is now at 37 percent, which is good news. However, consumer spending fell by more than 12 percent, thus hurting the economy. The savings ratio should indicate that we could bounce back when enough people are vaccinated.
What’s to Come?
Early in this new year is when things will turn around regarding COVID-19. Spring, summer, fall? Optimists say spring and pessimists say fall. I’d say mid-summer. I encourage all of us to look for the silver-lining. You can take a positive or a negative point of view. I heard an interview with a celebrity who was asked, “What is the best and worst thing that has happened to you during this pandemic?” He replied, “The best thing is spending so much time with my family that I know I could never get back. The worst thing is spending so much time with my family that I could never get back.” Ironically, he is right. It merely depends on how you look at it. Try to look at the positives and even if you have to lie to yourself until you start believing what you are saying, do it. After all, this will pass, and there is a light at the end of that tunnel.
The political climate in America is possibly more toxic than the pandemic. I get as disgusted as most when I listen to senators and Congress pandering to constituents. But as I watched the speeches the night protestors stormed the Capitol, I saw another silver-lining. Most made passionate speeches about protecting America and our great institutions. It seemed Democrats and Republicans were respectful to each other. This gave me hope. Members of all political parties must learn to work together; there is no crime in a compromise or seeing things from another perspective. Maybe what happened on January 6 will be a wake-up call for America. That it’s time to stop fighting.
In 2021, I will continue to look for that silver-lining. I will try my best to stay safe when out and about, and strive not to drive my wife to what I like to call COVID-crazy. I also hope you all can hold on to your New Year’s resolutions longer than I usually do. Regardless of what happens, let’s all try to keep a positive attitude for 2021 and work zealously knowing the future is bright for our companies, families and country. We have to get through a few more tough months. Maybe we should take a note from the motivational poster produced by the British government in 1939 to prepare its people for World War II. It read, “Keep Calm and Carry On.” We Americans can do that, right?