The year 1816 was a year of disaster for the Northern Hemisphere, though its fate was sealed by an Indonesian volcano the previous year. At the time of the tremendous volcanic blasts that occurred over a period of months, the deadly result of famine could not be foreseen.
The year 1915, in the midst of a European war, saw the sinking of the Lusitania, which shaped the American political debate throughout 1916 until the US finally entered the war in 1917.
While one year inevitably leads to another, it does seem that “15s” have had the jump on “16s” over the last two centuries- and we are now getting that feeling that History is about to have a moment of turnabout. The year 2015, at least politically, is already headed down the path of being a mere footnote for 2016: a blur; a side show of a blur at that.
Take that, says History. This “16” will not be controlled so easily.
When 2016 does end, whether we continue to make comparisons to volcanic explosions and famine will depend upon what transpires in this historically cursed year, and one’s politics. We do know, however, that absent something big- something so terrible we do not wish to contemplate it- we are going to be talking about the same thing this month and the next and the next and the... Yeah, that bad.
Mitt, Bush, Jindal, Rand, Walker, Ted, Sarah, etcetera, etcetera. By October, eyeballs will be bleeding from the latest campaign tweet or Facebook post. There are some good people running for President in 2016, but this is February. Two Thousand Fifteen.
We’ll be begging for a volcano somewhere. By the Iowa Caucuses, some pol somewhere will be caught by a “hot” mic saying, “Those fools in Pompeii never knew how good they had it!” Different volcano, but how many people know the difference? Mount Vesuvius isn’t on any nationally standardized test, is it?
We’re all old enough to remember yesterday- well, except half the Bill Clinton White House staff (see prior Congressional testimony)- but will we want to remember? Already in 2015, Speaker Boehner said he was Tea Partying before Tea Partying was cool; Sarah Palin gave an, ahem, interesting speech in Iowa; and the Obama Administration... do you have ten hours to be brought up to speed on the Incompetent One?
All this, and it’s only February. Yeehaw.
Can we talk for a moment? Can we really just sit down like people do nowadays, for thirty or forty-five seconds, and talk? Can we agree that “our” candidates will be principled? That our candidates will commit to cutting federal agencies and maybe even a department or four? That our candidates will spend 2015 talking about positive plans for America, to help us recover from the horrible effects of Obama’s foreign policy and domestic agenda? A few minor, veiled jabs at potential opponents will be forgiven if positive plans are advanced.
Blast away at the Incompetent One, if you like, you and your candidate. That’s fine. We have to point out incompetence and recklessness where they exist. That said, our candidates must educate- the party faithful, the masses, the guy across the street. Our candidates must explain “why” lower tax revenues lead to higher tax receipts and “why” cutting unemployment benefits led recently to greater job creation (including the impact on employers).
Our activists and voters alike must educate themselves and one another. How can we convince voters in a General election if we cannot convince our own friends and family? An ignorant person cannot persuade anyone, so learn the issues.
Is this sounding like the “Wizard of Oz” here or what? Tap those heels. Should we really expect all this edjicatin’ to go on in today’s world? Maybe this is a tad uh, hopeful.
We had better make it happen or we could find ourselves with another Alinsky-ite in the White House. Free foreign language courses will be available four years hence. Exclusively Arabic courses four years after that.
Every presidential election is said to be one of the most important ever; that the Republic may collapse if the right guy is not elected; that we may not get a second crack at salvation. You’re going to hear that over and over and over until the end of 2016. Get used to it; it’s just getting started.
There is some good news, however: Krakatoa is building up again in the Indian Ocean. It’s only February, but I feel the need for a distraction- and I sunburn easily, so who needs summer, anyway?
Brian W. Peterson has been a columnist for a mid-size California newspaper, is a veteran of political campaigns, and was a member of the publicly elected Republican Central Committee of Los Angeles County. His psychological thriller Dead Dreams and sci-fi adventure Children of the Sun are currently available through Amazon.com. You can follow Brian on Twitter @cybrpete.
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