December 26, 2015
Bold Predictions for 2016
On New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day each year my family eats a meal with our friends–the parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles of Katie, the little girl pictured here. We have some fun making predictions for the coming year. We predict election winners, Super Bowl winners, Oscar winners, stock market prices, and things like that. We also check our predictions from the previous year, and see who had the best crystal ball.
For this week’s blog I decided to expand my prognostications into a few new areas. Here are my bold predictions for 2016:
- Donald Trump will say something rude, offensive, and stupid.
- Oil prices will fall. And then rise. And then fall. And then rise.
- By midseason, so many NFL players will be on the concussion protocol that they will recruit me to play quarterback.
- LeBron James will make it to the NBA finals once again by beating 3 teams in the Eastern Division Playoffs that wouldn’t have even qualified for the playoffs if they had been in the Western Division.
- Ted Cruz will continue to use his family as props but get offended when people point out that he’s using his family as props.
- Dorothy Day will become a Catholic saint. Officially, that is. In my eyes, she already is.
- The Pope will signal that in the near future priests and nuns will be allowed to marry. Not sure how he’ll signal it. Perhaps he’ll post “In a relationship” on his Facebook page.
- The county clerk who refused to issue Kentucky marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples will “take it to the next level” and refuse to issue marriage licenses to Moslems. (Then some other clerk will take that to the next level and refuse to issue licenses to all non-Christians, claiming that “marriage is ordained of God.” Before you know it, Catholics will be added to the blacklist, then liberal Protestants, and eventually only Southern Baptists will be allowed to marry in the state of Kentucky. Beware! Drivers licenses may be next! After all, radical Islamic terrorists could use cars as suicide attack weapons. As for gun licenses, no need to worry. Everybody will be allowed to get them because they’re protected by the 2nd Amendment. Bottom line: Faith permits us to issue licenses to kill, but not to love.)
- Hospitals, insurance companies, and Big Pharma will announce plans to build a 5-square-mile domed stadium to encase the Texas Medical Center’s 30+ hospitals under the same roof. It will be hailed as a 21st Century Med-DisAstrodome. (They had to spend all that excess clinical revenue on something.)
- The Kansas City Royals will win the World Series once again, and for all the right reasons. (In other words, they play the game the way it was meant to be played.)
Oh, and here’s one easy prediction: Katie will continue to be cute! And sweet. And happy. And amazing.
But when I look at beautiful children like Katie, I wonder what type of world we’ll leave her. I wonder if my generation recognizes its responsibility to future generations and to The Good Earth. And I wonder how Katie and her peers will look back upon us in years to come. Will they view us as heroes, the way we viewed our parents, The Greatest Generation, who survived a global Depression, saved the world from Nazi terror, then came back home and fought for racial equality, gender equality, and health care for the elderly, the disabled, and the poor? Or, will they say we thought too much about our present and too little about their future?
So, the most important question isn’t how will we remember 2016, but rather, “How will they remember it?” Which is another way of wondering, “How will they remember us?” Here’s how I hope our grandchildren will remember 2016:
- As the year we brought our soldiers home.
- As the year the US went back to being its best self and welcomed Syrian refugees with open arms. All over America and throughout the world, you heard the words of Emma Lazarus’ great poem set to Irving Berlin’s melody: “Give me your tired, your poor . . . . Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.”
- As the year the US took serious steps toward amnesty for Mexican and Central American refugees. This happened after Ronald Reagan rose from his grave to say, “Tear down that wall!” America finally listened.
- As the year that the U.S. Congress began going back to doing its job of governing rather than grandstanding. Democrats and Republicans began working together once again. I’m not saying our government will operate like a well-oiled machine, but there will be fewer logjams, compromise will no longer be a dirty word, and we’ll start seeing some actual legislating and leadership.
- As the year the US government’s resistance to addressing global warming finally melted. (The scientific evidence and impending economic consequences finally reached a tipping point. All that, and a nudge from China.)
- As the year that Big Pharma got reeled in and real health care reform began. This occurred because Congress came up with the brilliant idea of reforming the Affordable Care Act by expanding Medicare to include more people, and that gave us the leverage to negotiate for fairer drug prices. Irony: A Republican Congress took the first step toward a single-payer national health system.
- As the year football began its precipitous downhill slide. What began as a national pastime was elevated in my lifetime to a national religion. In 2016 everything changed, and it became a national disgrace. (Here’s why. Once the NFL and NCAA started paying attention to head injuries, they discovered that practically everyone on the field was having them. At that point having your kids play football was viewed by CPS as a form of child abuse. And, watching football was pretty much the equivalent of watching the gladiators of ancient Rome. Except that with the gladiators, they didn’t stop the game every 5 minutes to send a doctor out on the field to ask the gladiator if he knew where he was and which day of the week it was.)
- As the year NBA players started playing defense in the 1st quarter rather than the 4th. (“You may say that I’m a dreamer. But I’m not the only one.”)
- As the year Cuba became, in the eyes of the US, just a regular country. Many Americans began visiting and fell in love with our neighbor to the south. Cuba released their political prisoners and took significant steps toward becoming a democracy.
- As the year MacDonalds’ and Burger King stopped selling burgers and fries, switched to humus and tabouleh, and the obesity, diabetes, and heart disease epidemics began to wane.
- As the year the NRA lost its stronghold on the American government and sensible gun control legislation passed through Congress.
Speaking of the NRA reminds me of one of the great artists of my generation, who was gunned down by a young man with a severe mental illness, who obviously had no business owning a gun. Before his death, John Lennon urged us to “Imagine”–to think beyond what is to what could and should be. What are your hopes and dreams for the coming year?