Vincent Zakian, In-Depth Co-Editor
Now past the one year mark of when lockdown began, we have seen protests, riots, contested elections, empty arenas and so many more things that would have seemed impossible a year ago. But were the events of the past year really that far a cry from what we were on pace for, regardless of a pandemic shutting down the world? It’s worth exploring…
2020 was another pivotal election year. Before the pandemic, people on both political sides thought we were destined to have four more years of Donald Trump’s presidency. But due in large part to a mishandling of a global pandemic, Trump lost to Joe Biden, and then spent the next two months trying to find every possible way to discredit his win. But, if not for COVID, the movement to get people to turn out to vote works anyway. Trump still gets voted out of office. Judging by his failure to build the border wall he promised, another mishandled crisis seems likely. He would still contest the election results, because whether he lost to Biden, Bernie Sanders or even Elizabeth Warren, he would never go down without a semi-legal fight.
During the empty stadium COVID era, we saw the two greatest American athletes win championships: Lebron James and Tom Brady. If not for COVID, absolutely nothing would be different, as far as NBA and NFL champions are concerned. Lebron still gets his ring because, as the biggest draw in the sport, the NBA loses millions of viewers and dollars when he doesn’t at least make it to the NBA Finals. Brady would still get his because, no matter what team he went to, he would bring his friends and will them to victory. He was in a new city with new teammates and, without fans in the stadium, brought a championship to a franchise that had been in the gutter for almost 20 years. Seems pretty inevitable.
In the middle of March 2020, we all got sent home from school for a minimum of two weeks. While that occurrence seems like a complete anomaly, if not for COVID, trust me, something else would have gotten us out of the school. If you let your mind wander for five minutes, you can think of at least nine potential threats to the health and safety of students and faculty. With the falling ceiling tiles, constant fire alarms and intrusions of students from other schools, if COVID didn’t cause Columbia High School to be deserted, there would have been another reason lurking in its walls.
Tik Tok was already a huge deal before last March. But when people had nothing better to do than dance in front of their phone inside, it became a mainstay in American culture and another social media powerhouse. If not for COVID, there is no doubt that Tik Tok would still be as popular as it is. Its addictive algorithm would have made it continue to entrance the youth of America in one way or another. If anything, everyone being inside just sped up the process.
It’s natural for us all to wonder how the world would be different if pre-pandemic life just continued. But, as it turns out, we would still see Trump contest an election loss. Tom Brady and Lebron James would still find a way to bring home some hardware. CHS would still be locked down for one reason or another. Tik Tok would still have become the biggest app in the world. So, ask yourself: In a world without COVID-19, would things really be that different?
Designed by: Sydney Mannion