For (probably) my last post of the year, I’ll direct your attention to two articles on NRO. George Will grabs a long list of lowlights from 2015:
We learned that a dismal threshold has been passed. The value of property that police departments seized through civil-asset forfeiture — usually without accusing, let alone convicting, the property owners of a crime — exceeded the value of property stolen by nongovernment burglars. The attorney general of New York, which reaps billions from gambling — casinos, off-track betting, the state lottery — moved to extinguish (competition from) fantasy football because it is gambling. Florida police raided a mahjong game played by four women aged between 87 and 95 because their game’s stakes allegedly exceeded the $10 limit set by state law. A Michigan woman was fingerprinted, had her mug shot taken, and was jailed until released on bond because she was late in renewing the $10 license for her dog. New Jersey police arrested a 72-year-old retired teacher, chained his hands and feet to a bench, and charged him with illegally carrying a firearm — a 300-year-old flintlock pistol (with no powder, flint, or ball) he purchased from an antique dealer.
And on it goes. Then there’s Stephen Miller’s humorous recollections and foreshadowing for President Barack Obama’s final year in office, written as if it’s a TV show titled SOTU:
The television show SOTU premiered a teaser promo on Twitter Tuesday night, hoping to get viewers who have fallen off over the course of recent seasons excited for the long-overdue final season’s premiere on January 12. The season will conclude with a series finale in January 2017.
Not much is revealed about the plot of the upcoming season, but the promo does feature the smirking president (played by Barack Obama) adjusting his white-tie tuxedo, an upbeat image in stark contrast to how last season ended: the country he presides over suffering another devastating terror attack in California, as well as one in Paris, with our hero rushing away to Hawaii.
In the (deliberately) labored preface of my novel, A Whispering Through the Branches, I questioned the significance of a clock turning the gears from one year to another, even when it turns the number for a millennium. This year, I suspect we’ll simply graduate from the foolishness of 2015 to a 2016 that will either be so ridiculous it’s painful or so painful it’s ridiculous.
For the country, 2016’s saving grace may be that the major consequences of the Obama presidency won’t be experienced so soon, just as the major consequences of the Clinton presidency weren’t felt until September 2001 and the recession of the late ’00s. Maybe in our stumbling or our wisdom we’ll choose well in the election, although the odds seem to be against us.
When it comes to Rhode Island, well, not much can be expected. Our governor still has some momentum for her experiment in choosing the wrong direction, but maybe it will be the year the people and the news media start to catch on.