Society

14 things we thought were true before 2020

Democracy is our destiny? Not sure about that anymore. Rich countries can overcome? Doesn't seem like it. In a crisis, leaders will lead? If you're lucky. All the 'truths' 2020 has called into question.

This has been a year of realizing that what we thought was solid ground beneath our collective feet was in fact a cliff that would crumble away with just a bit of natural erosion or one sharp blow.

The COVID-19 pandemic—along with the worldwide shutdown and economic and emotional devastation it has wrought—has forced a reckoning that so many of the things we counted on, from the utterly mundane to the profound, are simply not as true or sure as we always believed them to be. Read more about the year that changed everything »

All the things 2020 proved wrong


‘Democracy is destiny’

The worst system except for all the others has been under attack for years. Trump just made us notice.


‘The future is virtual’

The pandemic has made it clear in more ways than we would have thought to count: you actually need to be there


‘Rich countries can overcome’

The awful response to the pandemic put the final nail in the myth of liberal democracy’s pre-eminence


‘In a crisis, leaders will lead’

The job description is right in their title, but too many simply failed to show up for work


‘Women are winning at work’

The economic crisis spurred by the pandemic has unveiled inequalities and obstacles once thought a thing of the past


‘The individual is supreme’

Our decades-long love affair with rugged independence has suddenly fallen away


‘The stock market has meaning’

Long treated as a key economic indicator by many, it is now completely detached from how the economy is actually doing


‘Climate change can’t be stopped’

After decades of planet-threatening growth, emissions fell off a cliff. Environmentalists sense a turning point.


‘We value our seniors’

Decades of promises to improve the quality of life of elderly Canadians have gone unfulfilled


‘Kids are resilient’

Children’s ability to bounce back has been pushed to a breaking point, and exposed some ugly inequalities


‘Running errands is boring’

Rushing out to get milk was once the height of tedium. Today, it’s an anxiety-inducing thrill ride.


‘We need the gym’

The pandemic shutdown forced a reality check: for many, all that time spent in the gym was more luxury than necessity


‘Bureaucracy is slow’

The pandemic forced a culture shift on government, proving that red tape really can be cut


‘You can ignore racism’

Denying systemic racism is no longer tenable. But will the outrage of the past summer translate to substantive change?