Yesterday morning, I received a holiday card. “Let’s never do that again,” it read. The sentiment is understandable. This year has been one of tribulation. But this week I also came across The Economist magazine’s “country of the year,” which looks at where things went right.
Among the honorable mentions: Taiwan and New Zealand, for showing that good government and the pandemic were not mutually exclusive. Bolivia, for finding a peaceful presidential transition amid unrest. Even the United States, where the judiciary universally rejected partisanship to thwart an attempt to overthrow the presidential election.
The winner: Malawi, the only country where democracy and respect for human rights improved in 2020, according to Freedom House. Malawi also saw its judges “turn down suitcases of bribes” and annul a blatantly corrupt election, leading to a legitimately elected president.
But there’s a broader lesson here. Today, the Monitor Daily is running a summary of the 274 points of progress we chronicled this year. They paint a picture of a different 2020. Even in the bleakest years, the march forward never stops. And the seed of a better 2021 begins with acknowledging the progress made in 2020 and building on it.