In an early episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” our protagonist wanted to go on a date rather than investigate a diabolical menace. “If the apocalypse comes, beep me,” she tells Giles, her overseer.

An apocalypse did indeed come in 2020, but fortunately, only in the initial meaning of the word.

The Greek word apocalypse means to uncover, reveal, lay bare, or to disclose. The year 2020 was apocalyptic not in the biblical or the later Buffy/zombie/robot sense, but rather in the original meaning. Unfortunately, much of what 2020 revealed has been unfavorable.

In the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic, I read an article that matter-of-factly described the United States as a country with “poor quality public services.” I stared long and hard at that sentence, trying to decide whether it was a fair assessment.

In the end, it was a conclusion which I found impossible to deny.

It’s difficult to say just when in 2020 this was laid bare. Was it when the agency that receives multiple billions of dollars to prepare for a pandemic released flawed COVID-19 tests?

Maybe it was later, when I listened in horror to the tale of how the Food and Drug Administration had hamstrung the use of salvia tests during the opening stanzas of the pandemic. These tests were more accurate, didn’t require either a swab (which were in short supply) or anyone tickling your outer brain through your nose.

Not to worry. The FDA kept you entirely safe from these tests during exactly the period when we needed them most. Unfortunately, COVID-19 spread like wildfire during the CDC-FDA testing fiasco.

On the other hand, the moment of revelation might have been the unique confusion displayed by American public health officials about the efficacy of masks in slowing the spread of a **cough** upper respiratory disease. Nothing like watching our technocratic grandees debate over something obvious to anyone with even the faintest lick of sense.

As you may recall, we were first advised that masks could spread the disease before we were told that they were indispensable to slowing the spread of the disease.

Let’s just pretend I spent a few additional paragraphs discussing that while American scientists created one of the vaccines (finally!) in use in two days, it took American public health authorities approximately 150 times as long to give us permission to use said vaccine.

By the way, this is “warp speed” for our glacial authorities. Millions of people around the world might have died and the global economy could have faced certain ruin if something went wrong with a vaccine after all.

Oh, wait. That’s actually what happened.

Not to be outdone by our public health officials, America’s education system has decided to give them a run for their money. While school systems around the world and within the United States not only have managed to safely reopen, some never closed in the first place. Now comes word that despite being prioritized for vaccines, some teacher unions are expressing skepticism about reopening nine months from now.

(Click here for a visual “huh?”)

What has been uncovered, revealed, laid bare and/or disclosed in the COVID-19 apocalypse? If you said, “the need for American self-reliance,” give yourself a gold star. The less reliant you are on dysfunctional authorities to take care of yourself, your family and your community, the better.

You can try to beep the Slayer, but you would be better served by sharpening a stake of your own.

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