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Serious mayhem occurred at the Capitol on Wednesday. There was a lockdown, gunfire and a fatality. Lawmakers had to be evacuated. (Associated Press)

America’s mental health crisis is here

With all the recent talk of “trusting the experts” it’s easy to forget that the best barometer of how things are faring is almost always ourselves. After all, we don’t need a federal jobs report to tell us our neighbor no longer has a small business; we don’t need to read a newspaper to tell us our parents are ill-protected in their nursing homes; and we sure don’t need mental health professionals to inform us that our children are psychologically breaking down.

President Joe Biden speaks about the coronavirus in the State Dinning Room of the White House, Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Biden’s road more traveled

The inauguration of Joseph R. Biden Jr. as the 46th president returns the United States to the direction from whence it came. For the tens of millions who voted for him, his ascendance to the White House means the nation is getting back on track. Those who did not dread the U-turn he has vowed to make.

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President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen theater, Monday, Dec. 28, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Biden's switch from gas-powered cars to electric will cost consumers

The holidays traditionally place a strain on the budgets of many Americans, and the sporadic COVID-19 lockdowns throughout 2020 have only added to the struggle to make ends meet. As if those financial challenges were not enough, Joe Biden has more in store. Change is hard, to coin a phrase, and the kind of "clean energy revolution" he has in mind is likely to cost a pretty penny.

President-elect Joe Biden speaks at The Queen Theater in Wilmington, Del., Tuesday, Dec 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

'A (Washington) Christmas Carol'

We've all read — or watched — Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol." The story has so permeated our discourse that characters like Scrooge and Tiny Tim are employed as similes for miserliness and poverty. We also tend to remember, and use as metaphor, the trio of ghosts that visit Scrooge, ultimately precipitating a change in his soul for the better.

A sign advises visitors along Washington Street to wear face masks to try and reduce the spread of the coronavirus late Monday, Dec. 21, 2020, in downtown Golden, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Freedom's fall has preceded rising COVID-19 coercion

As the last days of 2020 dissipate, coronavirus lockdowns, quarantines and isolation are escalating. The year will surely be remembered as one when freedom faltered. As natural as the morning light is the yearning for freedom, but fear of disease is erecting sturdy barriers that thwart the inborn desire for autonomy. Trends that predate the pandemic signal that the new year will likely bring additional challenges in the struggle against forces that oppose the irrepressible impulse to be free.

Registered nurse La Tanya Forbes, right, is inoculated with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine by RN Cheryl Birmingham, left, at Memorial Healthcare System, Monday, Dec. 14, 2020, in Miramar, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

Joy, and vaccines to the world

Santa Claus has arrived early this year, and he looks a lot like Donald Trump. With the addition of a white beard, a red, fur-trimmed suit and just a few extra inches of girth, the man from Queens could pass for the king of elves, especially considering what he's loading into his gift sack. The life-saving COVID-19 vaccine that he promised to deliver has arrived in record time. Hallelujah.

In this Sept. 10, 2020, file photo, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks at the Austin Police Association in Austin, Texas.  Paxton had an extramarital affair with a woman whom he later recommended for a job with the wealthy donor now at the center of criminal allegations against him, according to two people who said Paxton told them about the relationship.  (Jay Janner/Austin American-Statesman via AP, File)

A legal war between the states

There is something to be said for letting bygones be bygones, but the ones with grievous repercussions aren't really gone. The anomalies, inconsistencies and apparent fraud revealed following the 2020 presidential election is poisoning the well-being of the nation.

This Dec. 7, 2020, photo shows President Donald Trump in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. Trump has announced that Israel and Morocco will normalize relations in the latest achievement of his administration's press to push Arab-Israeli peace.  (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

Donald Trump, man of peace

With pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC announcing support this week for a proposed $23 billion weapons sale of American F-35 fighter jets, advanced armed Reaper drone systems, and air-to-air and air-to-ground munitions to the United Arab Emirates, the ground now is as smooth as can be for the Trump administration to proceed in a transaction that will lend further stability — in a counterbalance to Iran — to a sometimes volatile region.

President-elect Joe Biden speaks during an event to announce his choice of retired Army Gen. Lloyd Austin to be secretary of defense, at The Queen theater in Wilmington, Del., Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

A modest pandemic proposal

Presumptive President-elect Joe Biden is understandably anxious to take over the nation's fight against the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed upward of 285,000 Americans.

FILE - In this April 21, 2020 file photo, a worker wearing a mask to protect against coronavirus, holds an unemployment benefit application form as she waits for a client at the state WIN job center in Pearl, Miss.  Friday, Dec. 4,  monthly U.S. jobs report will help answer a key question hanging over the economy: Just how much damage is being caused by the resurgent coronavirus, the resulting restrictions on businesses and the reluctance of consumers to shop, travel and dine out?  (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis, File)

Stoking a permanent underclass: What the latest jobs report portends

At the end of last week, the November jobs report was released, with news the economy regained 245,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate dropped from 6.9% to 6.7%. This would seem like good news except economists had widely anticipated a much higher gain, and worry that the tick-down in unemployment can be attributed to people simply dropping out of the labor market.

President-elect Joe Biden's climate envoy nominee former Secretary of State John Kerry speaks at The Queen theater, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A 'Great Reset' to futility: The pandemic slowed human activity, but not Mother Nature's

Thinkers of lofty thoughts have high hopes for a "Great Reset," a wholesale reordering of society in order to achieve "fairer outcomes." Conveniently, the COVID-19 pandemic has ripened the moment for the envisioned transformation. Integral to the process, according to reset advocates, is a switcheroo from a consumption economic model to a sustainably "green" one, with the added benefit of saving the planet from global warming. The only problem is it's not working.

In this photo released by Xinhua News Agency, Chinese President Xi Jinping, also general secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, speaks during fifth plenary session of the 19th CPC Central Committee in Beijing on Oct 29, 2020. China's leaders are vowing to make their country a self-reliant "technology power" after a meeting to draft a development blueprint for the state-dominated economy over the next five years. (Ju Peng/Xinhua via AP)

Legacy media's China failure

CNN on Monday published a report made possible by troves of internal documents provided by a Chinese health care whistleblower proving that the CCP published misleading data on the coronavirus, downplaying caseload and death count. What's amazing about this revelation is not that President Xi Jinping countenanced lying to the world, but that CNN published the expose in the first place.

President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris arrive at an event to introduce their nominees and appointees to economic policy posts at The Queen theater, Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, in Wilmington, Del. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Holding China accountable for the coronavirus

Joe Biden's Election Day ace card was pinning responsibility for America's devastating COVID-19 death count on Donald Trump. The ruination wrought by the virus here, though, was the result of the cause over there, in China. The United States ought not to allow responsibility for this man-made disaster to simply recede in the rear-view mirror of history. A President Biden must make certain that it doesn't — by holding China accountable for its role in the calamity. A signature "C'mon, man" or two won't do.

Neglecting foreign policy guarantees peril

Understandably, with COVID-19 raging, America — and the world — has turned its attention inward. But, as evidenced by the recent assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Iran's top nuclear scientist, the business of international relations has not paused. With escalating international tensions, America must continue to lead — both in arms and moral fortitude.

Shoppers pass Saturday, Nov. 28, 2020, an open Disney Store that is still partially boarded up from recent vandalism on Chicago's famed Magnificent Mile shopping district. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

A brightening Black Friday, and beyond

Not many years in living memory have been as bleak as 2020, but Americans are doing their level best to dispel the gloom during the season of giving. The coronavirus pandemic that dampened Thanksgiving celebrations from coast to coast only sharpened enthusiasm for the ensuing shopping spree of Black Friday. The unfolding holiday period demonstrates there is little market for misery during the most spirit-filled time of the year.