Goodbye, 2012. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. Good riddance to another banner year for bad news.
Don’t believe me? Take a look at the Pew Research Center’s list of the year’s most-followed stories: Shootings of Trayvon Martin and in Newtown, Conn., and Aurora, Colo., hurricanes Isaac and Sandy and other deadly storms, the rising price of gas and looming fiscal cliff. The attack in Libya and investigation of the same.
Depending on your inclinations, I suppose you could say the Supreme Court health care ruling and Barack Obama’s re-election were disasters, too. Although I’d call those silver linings, myself.
What does that leave? The Olympics. A nice event, but hardly enough to carry an entire year.
Here in Iowa, we had our share of bad news, most notably the disappearance and deaths of Evansdale cousins Elizabeth Collins and Lyric Cook. We suffered through the worst drought since the 1930s, but we endured a flood of nonsense, starting with the deluge of negative political ads bankrolled by — your guess is as good as mine.
There was that brief and glorious moment when same-sex marriage opponents (finally) raised the white flag, but it didn’t take long for us to find other targets for fear-mongering.
Secretary of State Matt Schultz has pledged to tighten restrictions on voting to combat imaginary voter fraud.
The DOT plans to deny driver’s licenses and IDs to young people granted, by Obama’s policy, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals — meaning Iowans with clean criminal records who were brought illegally to the country as children can petition for permission to live and work and go to school here. They just won’t be able to drive.
The world may not have ended in 2012, but neither did our problems. Early signs are we’re heading for more of the same in 2013.
The debt is high, the water levels are low, the same cast of characters are headed to the Statehouse and Congress to debate the same issues. The new year may mean little more than turning a calendar page.
But it doesn’t have to. That’s the point of looking back, of reflecting. We can decide to do better. We can resolve in the new year to treat climate change seriously, to work harder to stop violence. To protect our liberties and treat all people with respect.
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