As 2012 ended, Americans could scratch their heads over the folly of alleged congressional tax-phobes willing to allow taxes to increase for their middle class constituents in the interest of preventing taxes from increasing for their millionaire campaign donors. Such is the through-the-looking-glass logic of some in Washington D.C., a place like no other on the planet.
While it is true that not much good is likely to happen in Washington in the year ahead, there is real consolation in considering the bad that will not happen. There will not be a full-scale federal assault on the rights of women, as a variety of rape-parsing troglodytes were rejected by voters on November 6. The poor, sick and elderly will not be scraped away by government like so many barnacles. Big Bird will still be around, as will the Environmental Protection Agency.
The war in Afghanistan is scheduled to end in 2014, but it would brighten 2013 if it ended this year, and there is no reason why it should not. The generals never want to stop fighting, but the generals don’t set war policy. With Osama bin Laden gone and most of al-Qaida now in Yemen, the impossibly long war has lost its mission and drags on through inertia. The longer the United States is there, the more that can go wrong. President Obama should bring the troops home before the year is out.
As the year begins, the horrors of Newtown, Connecticut are still fresh in the minds of Americans, as it took the slaughter of 20 school children to shake the nation from its usual post-gun massacre pattern of anger followed by resigned acceptance that nothing will change. The NRA, however, has not abandoned its usual pattern of deflecting blame and touting more guns as a solution -- a cynical stance that generates revenue for the gun sellers and manufacturers that fill the NRA’s coffers.
America must have major -- not token -- gun law reform in 2013. If that is not accomplished by December 14, the anniversary of the Newtown slaughter, than 2013 cannot and will not be regarded as a good year, regardless of whatever else happened or didn’t happen.