Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Happy New Year, I Think

A couple of days ago, the nation let out a collective sigh of relief as 2016 finally drew to a close.

To say that the year was a shitshow would be an understatement.

Politically, the nation saw the most undemocratic election ever held in the history of the country.  The Republicans were thrown into disarray when Donald Trump sucked all the air from the room and ran roughshod over the party and all of its establishment candidates.  It's not that the Republicans disagreed with Trump's misogyny, his bigotry or racism.  It's that they were taken aback by Trump openly speaking what they were all thinking.

Amazingly, these same people that spent the last eight years ripping into President Barack Obama for not being strong enough against Vladimir Putin and the Russians, chose to elect a man that not only embraces Putin, they don't mind that the Russians actually interfered with our elections.

Meanwhile, the Democrats, who had the presidency and so many other elections laid at their feet by the Republicans, once again turned a deaf ear to the people and chose to run the only person in the country that could have conceivably lost to to Trump, Hillary Clinton.  And not only did the Democrats manage to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, they manage to screw up almost every down ticket race, such as Russ Feingold or the state legislature.

Socially, way too many people decided that it was suddenly appropriate and acceptable to openly express their hatred to anyone that wasn't a white, wealthy male.  It became all too common to hear or see people openly express their racism, their bigotry and their misogyny to anyone that disagreed with them or was the wrong color, the wrong religion or the wrong gender.

Not even the world of entertainment was spared from 2016.  We saw a seemingly endless announcement as many iconic figures left this plane of existence.  From David Bowie to Prince to Keith Emerson and Greg Lake to George Michael died.  Actors such as Doris Roberts and Abe Vigoda and Carrie Fischer and her mother, Debbie Reynolds all left us.

It wasn't the loss of these entertainers that impacted us as much as that, for many of us, they took our childhoods and our youths with them.  Many of us grew up listening to their music or watching them on the screen.  With their loss, we were forced to face our own mortality.

So yes, we felt some hope that when 2016 ended, so would the shitshow.  Sadly, 2016 was just a precursor of what is yet to come.

While the world might have seen turned upside down by the elections, we still have to contend with the reality of the rise of the Fourth Reich as Trump is sworn in later this month.  The Republicans, who control both houses, couldn't even wait to start on their agenda, and secretly voted to do away with any sense of ethics.

In Wisconsin, Scott Walker, in his perpetual campaign mode, has already kicked off his 2018 gubernatorial reelection campaign and his next failed attempt for a presidential run.  If the gentle reader has learned nothing else in the past six years, it should be that when Walker campaigns, it's always off the backs of the people.  One should fully expect that Walker and his fellow corporate meat puppets will continue to do the bidding of their corporate masters, in order to be able to buy more elections.

With the Republicans controlling everything from all branches of the federal and state government as well as the Milwaukee County Executive's office, even if they only meet half of their bucket list, it will cause decades of damage, if it can be repaired at all.

I would also expect that we will also see an uptick in racial violence and open bigotry.  As people get hurt by their choices for public leaders, they will have to deal with this somehow.  They won't be able to blame the Democrats, who couldn't stop any of this, even if they wanted to.  Instead of admitting they screwed up and chose poorly, they will take their cognitive dissonance out on other victims, such as women, minorities and anyone else different from them.

And, sad to say, expect more icons to pass away.  What we are seeing is the Baby Boomers hitting that age where there will be an increase in deaths.  It's just a sad fact of life that no one can change.  To make things worse, there aren't really any younger celebrities that show any promise of making marks on our society like their older counterparts did.  I mean, really, do you think anyone is going to be influenced by Justin Bieber, Paris Hilton or the Kardashians?

But things don't have to be all doom and gloom.

The people still have the power, if they remember how to use it.  If the Democrats and the unions are smart about, work on changing their messaging and remember what they are supposed to be all about, the people are getting more and more ready to get organized and fight the madness and corruption.

There are glimpses of this starting to happen, such as the DPW hiring Jason Sidener, of AFSCME, to be their political director.  That is a definite change from the kowtowing to the corporate special interests that have become way too commonplace, especially under the leadership of Mike Tate.

I'm not trying to kid the gentle reader.  It's not going to be easy.  Once the special interests get the least bit of control, they are unwilling to cede any of it back to the people.  It will have to be wrested away from them, just as our forefathers had to do.  But since we allowed this circus to go on, we owe it to ourselves - and our children and grandchildren - to end the fiasco and start putting it to rights.  We need to be the change we seek.

So while we of course wish each and every one of our gentle readers (all 4.3 of them) a prosperous, happy and safe new year, we also implore them to make it so.  Let's all work together to get ourselves out of this handbasket before we go any further into this hell.

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