January 6, 2005

I've seen several cartoons and columns lately arguing that 2005 is going to be a disaster. It's hard to imagine that it could be worse than 2004 was, but it's always a mistake to think we've reached the bottom of the barrel.

I have little hope that conditions in Iraq will improve. The Bush administration is too arrogant to cut its losses and get out. And there is no reason to think Iraqis will stop fighting against an occupying army. So, we can expect continuing dreary bloodshed.

There will be inept journalistic coverage of Social Security reform and attempts to stop people from suing corporations who have ruined their lives. Television moguls will conclude that the whole business is too complex to hold the people's attention, and the president will thunder that something must be done about crises that aren't crises. Then, a new Scott Peterson will come along and swamp the whole business.

Intellectual freaks masquerading as religious leaders will proclaim that unless we return to family values, God will continue to punish us. And major media figures will listen to them carefully, as though they weren't nut cases.

The White House will announce that the President is reaching out to the world and every time he does, he will say something so astoundingly insulting that the world reputation of American voters as total idiots will be established even more firmly than it is already.

France will be denounced by right-wing talk show hosts as an enemy of America and some voices will rise up demanding that anybody who drinks a glass of French wine should be thrown in prison and then will continue with the lie that California wine is better than French wine anyway.

The president will persist in his campaign to transform the name of this continent from a four syllable word into a three syllable word, and so many people will follow his lead that anybody who pronounces "America" in the old way will be called French.

There will be an increasing number of television shows delving into the vital question of whether Martha Stewart has gained or lost weight while she was in prison.

Alberto Gonzales, the president's nominee to head the Department of Justice, will say, approximately one million times, that when he asked the Office of Legal Counsel to clarify the definition of torture back in August of 2002, he wasn't trying to provide cover for nasty stuff the president had already decided to do. He was just asking a simple question.

The people will be told by their leaders that they are the most generous people on the face of the earth, and they will continue to believe that their country devotes a significant portion of its budget to foreign aid, when the actual amount the United States gives to other countries in an average year, through both private donations and government grants, amounts to $0.18 per American.

We will all feel safer because Saddam Hussein is in prison, and, otherwise, things will remain pretty much the same.

©John R. Turner

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