PERRY: Remembering 2020, no matter how badly we want to forget

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FILE–In this July 20, 2017, Japanese Beetles decimate the leaf of a Linden tree in Omaha, Neb. The Oregon Department of Agriculture is expanding its effort to squash a Japanese beetle infestation. The agency wants to apply a granular insecticide over 1,900 acres in unincorporated Washington County after thousands of the crop-eating beetles were detected in the summer of 2017. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik, file)

On a positive note, there weren’t swarms of locusts in Colorado.

Without doubt, 2020 has barreled through like a tsunami of biblical-like catastrophes. I expected locusts. We got Japanese beetles instead.

They’re a repugnant creature that meets with hundreds of his buddies on your the roses you’ve been agonizing over with the drought and all. There, the horde has group sex in front of everyone and then devours your beloved plants until they’re dead, dead, dead. Having been here a couple of years now, they erupted to make 2020 extra special.

Given that there’s a week left in the year, I’m tempting the fates at this point to look for bright spots in one of the lowest points in human history.

News types are chroniclers, so every year, newspapers look back and marvel at the good and bad among our neighbors and fellow residents of Earth.

You know it’s been a rough year when a presidential impeachment ranks far down the list of notable stories and events.

About this time last year, Aurora Congressman Jason Crow was helping build a water-tight case for Trump’s removal from office. The world listened to testimony from what seemed like endless witnesses about Trump’s frightening abuse of power. Without any credible doubt, he pressured foreign officials to help discredit then-rival-candidate Joe Biden.

It turns out 2020 would play out to simply be the closing arguments for four years of Trump making the case himself for his own impeachment.

January started off like one of those nightmares where you cry out for help and everyone around goes about their business as if you were a ghost.

Crow and other Democrats made a case so solid against Trump that his only defense was to pretend he was so incompetent that he didn’t know his subversive extortion was unethical or illegal. And as all the adults in the room and across the nation yelled about the danger, Republicans acted like players in a nightmare, ignoring the nuclear elephant in the room. Even before the coronavirus pandemic became one, Trump’s profuse lying swept up almost the entire Republican Party. Members of Congress, like Colorado reps Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn, not only lied with him, they began lying for him.

And that was January.

And as the impossible was happening, the more impossible hailed down on us. For my entire life, scourges of disease were pretty much the worries only of banana republics. Given that the nation was now run by Banana Republicans, we should have better headed the flashing light on the world dashboard when grim news of a new flu made its way out of China.

“We have it totally under control,” Trump told CNBC reporters in February. “It’s one person coming in from China, and we have it under control. It’s going to be just fine.”

Just a few weeks later, almost everyone I knew was hiding at home from the virus.

Like a feature-length nightmare, we watched toilet paper fly off the shelves. Within days, we became a virtual society.

Almost a year later, people are still hoarding paper towels and toilet paper.

Unable to handle a world where almost all travel and personal contact abruptly ended, along with tens of millions of jobs, it seemed even Trump couldn’t make things any worse than he had.

So Minneapolis police did. They murdered George Floyd, who was filmed begging for his life, “I can’t breathe.” What started as a side-plot in the American Bad Dream fast became the main theme as protests against racism broke out across the nation in the middle of a pandemic being mishandled by a corrupt and increasingly unhinged president. Irwin Allen couldn’t have sold that absurd plot to anyone.

The Floyd murder was gasoline on Aurora’s own smoldering problems with police racism. The story of the abhorrent death of Elijah McClain at the hands of Aurora police and firefighters mushroomed into an international scandal.

Twice, we watched throngs of angry protesters march down the lanes of Interstate 225. The second time, the interstate parade drew gunfire and chaos the likes never seen before in Colorado.

All the while, Trump spun out of control at the White House, actively undermining the nation’s response and handling of the pandemic. And instead of wrestling the wheel away from him, the nation’s most prominent Republicans joined him.

While scientists and researchers were trying to keep the virus from spreading so fast it would become a nightmare far beyond biblical proportions, armed protesters began demanding they be allowed to eat in crowded restaurants and go to a movie.

As the general election heated up, hordes of bumptious bikers descended on South Dakota, which invited them to a super-spreader event that eventually sent the Midwest into fountain of contagion.

Meanwhile, adults in Aurora and across the state had to fight for mask laws against resistance that would normally be reserved for conscripting cars and cash from the public.

The summer protests heated up, and so did Colorado wildfires. Unable to do anything in public, the choking smoke made it dangerous to go outside even alone.

At home, after weeks of hand-wringing worry and weirdness, my wife and I fell into a pattern of getting up early on weekends to discuss what we would argue about that day.

Schools opened and closed and open and closed and then stayed closed.

Get this, the  election, which to this day dominates headlines because even though it was over more than a month ago, still isn’t over because, well, Trump.

“I’m going to put it very simply: The president of the United States has the authority to do what the president has the authority to do, which is very powerful,” Trump quipped earlier in the year, creating new waves of terror among Americans already terrorized for months, maybe years. “The president of the United States calls the shots.”

Hopes of that flavor of lunacy falling from favor have now been dashed by Colorado’s newest member of Congress, U.S. Rep. Elect Lauren Boebert, R-You Serious. She spends her time on Twitter re-tweeting Trump’s social media wisdom and fighting against efforts to keep the coronavirus from killing even more Coloradans than it already has. Rep. Corona De Vil said last week she’ll have as many strangers, pals and others over for a big infective Christmas dinner as she damn well pleases because, “The Constitution.”

So the topper on this year’s tree of strife is the news alert that came across my phone this morning, just as it looked likely that we’d ditched swarms of locusts in 2020.

“Trump threatens 30-day reign of destruction on the way out of office,” the headline barked.

I’m forgoing a trip to the store for more toilet paper and instead getting a case of Irish whiskey for the final week of the year. Wake me when this is over.

Follow @EditorDavePerry on Twitter and Facebook or reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]