Blaine’s Bulletin: 2021: The Year in Review
As the year comes to a close, I find it’s always productive to take a look back at the last 12 months to see what worked for our state and country, and what could be improved upon. We swore in a new president this year, and while this Administration and I are on very different pages ideologically, I always approach new situations with an optimistic outlook. Admittedly, I am less optimistic 12 months later because in many respects 2021 was a year we hope not to repeat.
Unfortunately, several memorable moments of the year were not what you’d call highlights. For example, just weeks before we observed the 20th anniversary of 9/11, we watched the withdrawal from Afghanistan that had incredibly devastating consequences. After 20 years in Afghanistan, we surrendered the country back to the same people who provided safe harbor to Al-Qaeda after they attacked the U.S. And the Taliban leaders who had been in prison for heinous acts of violence and terror are now back at the top of the country’s government. To make matters worse, by forfeiting a major airbase that has provided key intelligence for our military regarding not only what is happening in the Middle East but also China - which is just a short flight away - we have lost important strategic resources and made our country less safe.
I’m sure you’re thinking, this is a holiday week; why talk about perhaps the lowest point of the year? The answer is because what we lost during the withdrawal must never be forgotten. 13 American servicemembers were killed on that fateful day in Kabul, including 20-year-old Marine Lance Corporal Jared Schmitz from Wentzville. For their families, 2021 will be the worst year of their lives, and we owe it to them to pay tribute to soldiers who gave their lives to save the lives of thousands. They displayed a bravery that most of us can only imagine. Whether you’re watching the ball drop tonight on TV, or fireworks somewhere here in Missouri, it’s worth taking a moment to remember what those families sacrificed so we can welcome the new year.
And it is no secret that 2021 has been one of the most difficult economic years in recent memory for our country. The pandemic created economic problems we won’t soon forget. However, just like in 2020 we saw communities rally around one another to keep our local businesses, their workers, and the families that depend on them moving forward. The entrepreneurial spirit and the never-say-die attitude so unique to this state and country was on full display this past year. And despite the amount of vitriol we see on TV and social media, charitable and warm-hearted acts took place every day in towns across Missouri. That’s not say things are going well economically. A poll just came out this week that says 48% of American adults feel they’re worse off economically than they were a year ago, which is as unsurprising as it is disheartening. This was the most expensive Thanksgiving in history, shelves in many states were empty as families shopped for Christmas, and everything from gasoline – which is up a staggering 58.1% nationally – to chicken, to coffee, to renting a car is costing you more.
I sadly don’t believe those things are going to get better in 2022. But I do believe we are resilient people. This country wasn’t built by government, and although horrible policies and decisions over the last year have exacerbated nearly every challenge imaginable, a government cannot crush the will of the people. I see it every day as I travel across the Third District. From the lake, to Fulton, to Jefferson County, people (while they might be angry at the way things are going and the failures of leadership in Washington) are working hard to support themselves, their families, and the people around them. Oftentimes that is the best we can do, and that is what I try to the best of ability to do for you.
As your representative in Congress, my job is to ensure your voice is being heard and to advance Missouri priorities in Washington, D.C. That has obviously been an uphill battle this year, but it doesn’t mean I won’t keep working hard on your behalf. Serving the Third District is my absolute honor, and I will continue doing everything I can to make life in our state the best it can be. With a new year comes new beginnings and a fresh start, and I’m very much looking forward to that in 2022. Wishing you a happy and healthy new year!