Our View: It’s been a long, strange journey | TheUnion.com

Our View: It’s been a long, strange journey

There’s a hackneyed, cliched “Grateful Dead” lyric we could use here, but we’ll pass.

We doubt many people have had the best year. What started out looking pretty good, great even, turned south fast. Whispers of an overseas virus soon developed into America’s first case, then first several cases, then a countrywide shutdown.

Maybe you remember where you were when you first learned about gatherings being limited to 250 people. That quickly changed. Next thing you know the governor had ordered most businesses to close. Many people found themselves without jobs and income. Ads for masks started appearing on your Facebook feed. How vogue.

Then came the public pushback. It was inevitable. Chalk it up to American nature. Many of us don’t like being told what to do, and, boy, did it show. Pretty soon you had your pick of conspiracy theories, from masks cause lower oxygen levels to Bill Gates is going to track you with a vaccine.

You can read all about it on your cell phone.

Despite all this, wondrous acts have sprung from this gloomy year. The Nevada County Relief Fund, for one. This fund, sparked by the Board of Supervisors and assisted by regular people who had money to give, has helped keep the lights on and paydays met for many local businesses.

Times remain tough for many people, and they’ll stay tough. But this fund is an example of government getting it right, and having real people helped to prove it.

The Distance Learning Center at the fairgrounds, spearheaded by Bright Futures for Youth, is another example. Facing challenges created by distance learning, students have an ad hoc classroom in the form of the center, where they can get online and do their schoolwork. It beats sitting in a parking lot while desperately trying to connect to a school’s Wi-Fi.

Then there’s the increase in pet adoptions, people cleaning out their homes and scouring hobby shops, a return to activities like gardening and hiking, even a boost to liquor sales. Hey, every tax penny counts.

It’s vital we focus on the positive. Otherwise the negative threatens to overwhelm you.

We watched as cherished annual traditions got canceled, one after the other. The Nevada County Fair was especially hard to miss, but there were many others, too many to list here. The Thanksgiving Turkey Trot, WorldFest, Draft Horse Classic and The Union’s own Home and Garden Show are only a few. Our community hasn’t yet had the chance to truly experience a renovated Center for the Arts.

We’ve had memories cast aside before we could experience them — moments lost as the days crept past.

We’ve seen our favorite shops and restaurants close, then reopen, then close again, some for good. Eateries have tried to survive with only takeout as changing state mandates tie business owners in knots.

It’s tough to know which is worse — leaders who knuckle down to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s shutdown mandates, or those who openly declare they won’t enforce them.

We’d already taken sides, even before this year’s election. This pandemic has only widened them and pushed us farther apart.

But no matter how cold winter can get, it must always be followed by spring.

The arrival of a vaccine for COVID-19 is a shining success for our nation and the world. It heralds a return to normalcy we’ve longed for. Health care workers on the frontlines received the vaccine this week. More will follow.

Just as we watch our garden for the first shoots to appear, so must we be patient for the vaccine.

You might be one of those who is near the front of the line — a hospital worker, someone who lives in assisted living, or a person whose medical condition requires it.

If not, your time will come. It will for everyone who’s helped us through the past several months. The electricians, the dentists, the cashiers, the deliverymen and women who have put themselves at risk when so many of us have remained in our homes. They’ve not only earned this vaccine, they deserve it.

And, yes, it has been “a long, strange trip,” to quote the cliché, but it and this longest, msot trying year are almost over.

Only better things can come.

The weekly Our View editorial represents the consensus opinion of The Union Editorial Board, a group of editors and writers from The Union, as well as informed community members. Contact the board at EditBoard@TheUnion.com

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