We were once in New York City when the new year arrived. Uninterested in being crushed by several thousand people in Times Square, we watched the ball drop on TV. Since then, it’s been my goal to sleep through the festivities; especially when I was on call. Other than an excuse, as if they need any, for young people to get drunk and copulate, I’ve never seen the point. The flipping of a calendar. Whoop de doo.
Admittedly, since the election of Trump, it’s been reasonable, if futile, to hope the next year (or day, or week) would improve upon the last. There’s nothing wrong with hopefulness on any day. But January Oneth is so arbitrary. Why not June? Or, if it must be January, how about inauguration day eve? Every four years: seventy-five percent less meaningless.
Among reviewers of the receding year, there’s none better than Dave Barry. I wouldn’t dare. Nor will I make resolutions, other than forcing myself to pay attention and, when necessary, which is pretty much constantly, to sound alarums.
But I’ll indulge in a few predictions, none of which requires imagination or psychic ability, because next year will be a straight-line continuation of this one. What we’ve become, where we’re headed, is stone-cast: Han Solo in carbonite. Bad stuff will get worse. Good stuff will get better, but it won’t matter. The year will bring unbridgeable division, political poison and paralysis, same as now.
The House committee investigating Trump’s attack on democracy will succeed in proving how corrupt and intent on destroying faith in elections he and his hench were. His enablers, followers, and his dutifully destructive media will continue to dissemble, deceive, and dismiss the seriousness. The clearer it becomes that, as polls showed Trump losing to Joe Biden, they set out to convince the herd that the election would be “rigged,” the less it will matter. Though it’s hard to imagine how much less than it already is. Most Republicans will persist in rejecting the facts like they reject vaccines.
Democrats will keep legislating to improve Americans’ lives and mitigate environmental threats. Seeing politics as a zero-sum game in which the county’s future isn’t a player, Republicans will continue to obstruct. Democrats will beg Joe Manchin to prioritize America over coal; Republicans will cheer him on. Something will get done, though far less than is needed. Republicans’ sponsors will exult; corporations will reward their political purchases, executives, and investors. Kids born into poverty will remain poor. When God closes a window, Mitch McConnell bolts the door.
At the federal level, there’ll be no substantive legislative proposals by Republicans. Out in red states there’ll be plenty, aimed at securing Republican electoral wins, no matter the preference of voters. More rufescent rules will appear, packing election boards with Trumpists or moving election oversight to legislators. Some are already working on allowing themselves to declare winners when they don’t like voters’ choices. Gerrymandering will keep them in control, even where there’s a majority of Democratic voters. Knowing unfettered democracy disfavors them, Trumpists will delight in its crumbling.
Threats of violence against election officials and school board members will continue. More good people will resign. Actual violence, by unmasked patriots, on flight attendants, restaurant servers, and store employees will increase.
In state primaries, Republicans will lose if they don’t repeat Trump’s election Big Lie while characterizing liberalism as a mortal enemy. Use of the terms “socialism” and “communism” will still bear no relation to their actual meanings. Nor will Republicans stop lionizing their worst, whether it’s hate-peddling Congressional demagogues, a delusional, self-important teenage killer, or a guy who insulted President Biden during a sweet call to children, lied about it, and then, realizing his mendacious nastiness made him the perfect rightwing hero, is “praying about” running for office. God’s answer will be of interest.
Climate change will become more undeniable, and, by elected Republicans, more denied. After taking down thousands of anti-vaxxers, Omicron will run its course by Fall. SCOTUS will abort Roe v. Wade. The John Lewis voting rights act will be filibustered to death. The economy will continue to grow at the record pace initiated by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. Rightwing media will credit Trump and/or focus on inflation. The southern border mess will become slightly less horrible.
Instances of discovered voter fraud will remain in single digits, mostly by Republicans. Impossibly, my grandchildren will become even more endearing. Rand Paul will still define “stealing an election” as legal Democratic voter registration and persuasion by having desirable policy, as opposed to Republican suppression and lying, having none.
Happy New Year, anyway. Remember: Champagne is quicker than eggnog.