A Few Things You Forgot Happened In 2019
A Year In (Partial) Recap
Ah, 2019. What a year. It was...long and...uh...that's all I can think of right now: it was long. It was so long, that so many things happened, that I can't remember what happened at the beginning of the year. Hell, I can't even remember what happened at the beginning of the day! That's how bad it is. So, with that, here are a few things that you might have forgotten that happened in 2019.
Nancy Pelosi Becomes Speaker of the House - Again
As you may or may not recall, Democrats got a major boost from the 2018 midterms when they regained control of the House of Representatives – thanks in part to people showing up to vote in November of 2018. Nancy Pelosi regained the title of House Speaker thanks to this majority, a title which she lost in 2011 when Republicans regained their majority in the 2010 Midterms. Pelosi – the first female, Californian, and Italian American to hold this role – voted against using force in Iraq on multiple occasions and has also been very supportive of women’s rights. Although some of newer, younger, more freshman members of congress – read: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – were in strong opposition to a second speakership for Pelosi, she nonetheless got voted into the position yet again.
The Government Shutdown
The longest government shutdown in history occurred at the beginning of the year. It was at this point that we were informed that most government workers live paycheck-to-paycheck. We heard all over the news about these hard workers not being able to put food on the table, not being able to fill their cars with gas, and even having to sell their cars. We also learned how much of our lives are impacted by a government shutdown. The national parks filled with god knows what, food went un-inspected, and immigration hearings went unheard by the judges…and all this because Trump was stubborn and wanted money for his border wall. Thanks to the 2018 Midterms, and Nancy Pelosi regaining her House speakership, she and the House of Representatives were able to have some kind of (real) say in legislation, so they were able to stand up and say no. It only came to an end when Nancy Pelosi suggested that Donald Trump move the 2019 State of the Union speech to a different date – one that was after the government had reopened, thereby taking away his precious TV time, and so the government was reopened.
Here's a video clip that explains the shutdown better than I can.
Mass Shooting at a California Bowling Alley
Three men were killed and four more were injured at a bowling alley near Torrance, CA, which also happened to function as a gaming complex. It all started when a fight broke out between two large groups of people that were at the bowling alley that night. This fight got so large that it wound up blocking the entrance to the bowling alley. Fifteen shots were fired that night. As a result, the state of California worked to pass stricter gun laws all throughout 2019.
The 2018-2019 was the longest flu season in ten years, according to the CDC. There were multiple waves of the flu virus. The first one was the H1N1 virus, better known as the swine flu, which was a major cause for fear in 2009 because of how different it was from previous flu viruses, as well as the little natural immunity people had at the time against this particular virus. The second one was the H3N2 virus, which was the main strain of the flu during the 2017-2018 flu season – you know, the one in which the vaccine was only 38% effective. H3N2 is also known as the hospitalizer, in part because it mutates so quickly that those who make the vaccines have a hard time catching up with it. Doctors do say that one thing is very clear: get vaccinated. This cannot be emphasized enough, and I don’t wanna hear about parents who don’t wanna get their kids vaccinated because they think the vaccine will give their kids autism, because to me, that’s just saying you’d rather have a dead kid than an autistic one.
Algerian Presidential Election
Algeria is an Islamic country in northwestern Africa, located on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Its citizens took part in a nationwide presidential election – sort of. The former Algerian President – a deposed man named Abdelaziz Bouteflika – served as their leader since 1999 until he resigned in 2019 due to mass protests across the nation. During his presidency, Bouteflika, who was only Algeria’s seventh (7th) President (Algeria gained its independence from France in 1962.), he took over his predecessor’s project following the end of the Algerian Civil War, and ended an emergency rule in February of 2011, which was caused by regional unrest. Bouteflika’s opponent, former prime minister Abdelmadjid Tebboune, won with 58% of the vote – 58% out of the 40% of the Algerian citizens that actually voted, which was somehow still enough of the population that state TV declared the validity of the election results. This election was widely boycotted because this election saw Bouteflika and the ruling party go up against Tebboune and the military. Many people did not like this, and voiced their opposition by not just boycotting the election and not voting, but also by protesting in the large Algerian city of Algiers, and calling for the dismantling of Algeria’s political establishment.
Colorado's "Red Flag" Bill
This past April, Colorado governor Jared Polis signed the Red Flag bill into law. The Red Flag bill allows Colorado judges to temporarily remove guns from those thought to be at a higher risk to be a harm to themselves or others. Those in favor of the bill say that it could reduce suicides as well as the likelihood of another mass shooting in the state, and if you keep in that Colorado had both the Columbine Shooting and the Aurora Theater shooting, then you can kind of see where they are coming from. However, those against the new legislation believe that it could jeopardize the rights of Coloradans to bear arms, as outlined in the Second Amendment. Although this new law is statewide, about half of the counties in Colorado have actively fought against their sheriffs and judges from obeying the governor’s orders to take weapons from its residents by declaring themselves “Second Amendment Sanctuary Counties.” This red flag bill is yet another result of Democrats taking over after the 2018 Midterm Elections, as Democrats gained control of both of Colorado’s chambers as well as the governor’s office, and if this is any indication, they are certainly reaping its benefits.
Alabama's Anti-Abortion Bill
Alabama is a very conservative state and has been for quite some time. One conservative principle is the belief that abortion is murder, which is why the Alabama senate sent a bill to Governor Kay Ivey’s desk, which she signed, that essentially outlawed abortion, with no exceptions for rape and incest. This bill is called the Human Life Protection Act. This is even more important when you consider that, at the time, many people were talking about Roe Vs. Wade, which states that abortion is the law of the land. Some have speculated that this bill is to get the attention of the Supreme Court, so that religious conservatives can get Roe Vs. Wade overturned.
California Costco Shooting
This one may not have caught your attention. In June, an off-duty police officer shot and killed someone. What got this story attention is that the shooting victim was described as non-verbal and severely developmentally disabled. From where I stand, as someone with a disability, this story deserved to not just be talked about, but to be blasted from the rooftops, and those in the autism community agree. This is because someone with a developmental disability might not be as, for lack of a better term, “developed” as somebody else. As such, unusual behaviors, such as the shoving that led to the shooting, might be weird to most other people, but it might just be normal for those people. The victim’s parents tried to explain their son’s disability to the shooter, but that did not stop him from firing ten times. In the wake of such shootings, autism groups have chimed in, saying that there needs to be more accountability with regards to the shooter, and they are correct, and in my opinion, there also needs to be more education and acceptance about autism itself, as well as disabilities in general.
Facebook Post Causes Riot in Bangladesh
As of 2011, almost 90% of all Bangladeshis identify as Muslim. Therefore; a Facebook post that criticized the Prophet Muhammad angered Muslims. The person that originally posted is a 25-year-old Hindu man from southern Bangladesh, where the protests are taking place. He told police that he did not post it – he said that somebody hacked his Facebook account. Regardless, as a result of the post, protests erupted in Bangladesh, especially the southern region. These protests started out peaceful but turned violent when some of the protestors started throwing bricks and stones at the officers. From there, things only escalated further in a country known for tension that ends in violence.
Hong Kong Protests
Hong Kong is not its own country or a city, but what is called “a special administrative region.” In fact, Hong Kong’s full name is “Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China (HKSAR).” The protests began in June because of plans to allow Hong Kong to be extradited to mainland China. For those unfamiliar, extradition is defined as an act where one jurisdiction delivers a person accused or convicted of committing a crime in another jurisdiction, over to their law enforcement. In this case, the accused is Hong Kong, the first jurisdiction is the government of mainland China, and the other jurisdiction is the government of Britain, hence “one country, two systems.” With “one country, two systems,” the people of Hong Kong had more rights, which is why those who oppose the extradition of Hong Kong to mainland China fear that it could endanger residents of Hong Kong as well as undermine their judicial independence. Despite this plan being scrapped in September, the protest have not only continued, but they have also escalated to the point where protesters have been killed by police, and have also attacking the police. The citizens of Hong Kong want democracy, but it is unclear if they will get it in 2020.
Iraq is an Islamic country located in western Asia, close to the Middle East. It was one part of both Mesopotamia and the Ottoman Empire, so it has been around for a while. Despite that, its most recent constitution has only been in effect since 2005. It has been the center of many wars, including one from within its own body. Back in September, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi demoted the chief of counterterrorism, who was very popular among the Iraqi citizens, and this demotion accordingly sparked protests in the streets, mainly by those under 30. Citizens wanted basic services, more jobs, and less government corruption. When protesters marched toward the main government offices, that’s when security forces opened fire on the protesters, which was the driving force behind even more anger. Iraqi government officials have asked parliament to reconsider their support for the government, while the UN has called for investigations into killings, corruptions, election reform, and much more. It’s also important to note that Iraq is not to be confused with Iran, who was accused in complicity in the Iraqi government.