OPINION: 2021 was the absolute worst


Wikimedia Commons

Interior of the Kentucky State Capitol. Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Brennan Eberwine

The year 2021 is finally drawing to a close after twelve long months (totally unusual for a year, am I right?). Many were excited for the beginning of 2021, simply because it wouldn’t be 2020 anymore (a dumpster fire of a year in its own right). However, despite our high hopes, this year also had its own set of the horrible, the weird and just maybe a little tinge of the good. Ultimately, as a cynic to the very end, I declare 2021 as horrible and personally rather disliked it. I ask, what even happened this year? What made it so unpalatable? What were the few somewhat redeeming qualities we saw (if any)?

The Capitol

One of the biggest and seemingly downplayed events with the most ramifications was the January 6 attack on the United States Capitol by right-wing zealots attempting to stop the certification of then President-elect Joe Biden. This came the day after the Georgia runoff election, which put the Senate in Democratic control and only heightened the frustration and anger of the soon-to-be rioters. 

Anyone could observe the massive gathering of protestors on January 6 by watching The New York Times livestream or taking a quick look at Twitter; but, I doubt anyone thought that the protestors would be able to overpower the Capitol police by that grand of measure, let alone begin a full scale attack. This event, which caused President Trump to be impeached for a second time and be permanently suspended by his beloved Twitter, defined 2021. Not even a full week in and the mood of the year was set, the tone almost impossible to dissuade. This was going to be a year of the unexpected and the chaotic. 

Snow in Texas

Snow in Kentucky isn’t terribly uncommon, but snow in Texas most certainly is. Texas’ power grid collapsed after a blizzard hit early February, primarily due to the state’s lack of winterization and the severity of the storm. Certain parts of the state saw up to eleven inches of snowfall, which is well above the average .1 inches. Blackouts lasted for well over a week in most areas and thousands were stuck in the cold. The natural disaster left over 200 dead and over $50 billion in damages. Some blamed the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), some blamed wind turbines and some blamed Ted Cruz. Another unexpected event that further divided the country and left chaos in its wake. 

COVID Vaccinations

Vaccines were seen and cited as the true end to this COVID mess since the pandemic started. Two vaccine company candidates, using a newer vaccine method, began to emerge as front runners in 2020. Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna both had their efficacy trials showing promising results by the end of December 2020 and by February, vaccines began rolling out to Americans. Despite competing data and claims, the vaccine has no doubt saved many lives and given many hope. Perhaps this was one light in the darkness that seemed to be 2021. 

The Delta curveball

The COVID-19 case load had reached its lowest numbers around the beginning of July 2021 and restrictions dropped back to almost pre-pandemic normalcy. However, right after the 4th of July, cases significantly rose again and the world was tossed back to square one. The new and highly infectious Delta variant had arrived. 

Tokyo Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics were originally scheduled for 2020 but postponed for obvious reasons (there being a global pandemic raging about and all). Declining case numbers and rising vaccination rates finally helped set a definite date for the games a whole year later. Compared to the 2016 Rio De Janeiro summer Olympics, which on average pulled in 26.7 million primetime viewers, the Tokyo Olympics only pulled in 15 million viewers. Even while athletes were playing to empty stadiums, their hopes that anyone was watching seemed to be unanswered. At least we got to see Tom Daley knit!

Critical Race Theory

The next big right-wing boogeyman, critical race theory, dropped this year. What started as a theoretical framework only talked about in higher education circles (such as in law class elective courses), has lit a fire in the right-wing populism machine. It’s empowered bored “Karens” and militant white supremacists to descend upon school boards to complain about how it’s really hard to be rich and white and how diversity will ruin us all. Several states have moved to ban the concept from being taught in schools, while other states are fully embracing the matter. Just another issue for us all to be angrily divided by.  


Yassification, which originated as a meme, has become a sort of lifestyle for many. The world was changed forever when the popular twitter account Yassify Bot (not an actual robot) began yassifying everyone, from the man in the moon to Evan Hansen. Possibly for the better? All you need are some yass pills (items that have been yassified) to help make this year all the more glamorous. 

Omicron: this again?

Delta had been the hottest news for awhile, but just as cases began to slow down for Thanksgiving, a new variant from South Africa hopped on the scene. How lucky are we?  Omiron spreads insanely quickly and scientists aren’t exactly sure if it’s deadlier or if vaccines are less effective for it. Either way, 2021 just seems to be the gift that keeps on giving. 

This painfully long and dreadful year is finally drawing to a close and it almost feels like it’s a better idea to just throw it in a dumpster and burn it to smithereens. I guess one of the most miserable parts of the human condition is to have at least some resolve to keep going, so I shall. Besides, this year wasn’t all that bad and it had it’s shining moments. So bring it on 2022. We’re ready.