Once again, WC opened the year with wishes for the upcoming months. And once again, WC’s wishes and hopes were mostly dashed. Maybe “smashed” would be a better word. But with less than a week or so left in 2017, let’s look at the specifics. (Wishes in bold face; outcomes indented below.) The news is pretty uniformly bad.
Overpopulation. Yes. Still at the top of the list.
The root of much is what is wrong and going wrong on this tired, over-crowded and badly-abused planet. Back in 2011, we rolled the odometer over to an estimated 7 billion. We’re now approaching a staggering 7.6 billion. To a deplorable extent, especially in the Western world, the rate of population growth is a function of religious dogma. The Catholic church and the Latter Day Saints’ crazed, self-destructive obsession with large families would be two obvious examples. When religious dogma have counter-survival effects, it’s past time to change them. WC calls on all those latter day saints and infallible pontiffs to have a revelation: that further growth of human populations is terrible, and must be controlled, that more than two children is a sin by whatever definitions they use. The Trump Administration has been utterly silent on this existential crisis. Under the circumstances, WC hopes that continues. In the meantime, Grade: F
Anthropocentric climate change. Another repeat from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016: the second great crisis facing humanity.
Trump and his minions have demonstrated an ostrich-like attitude to the second existential crisis. The way things are going, to paraphrase Pratchett and Gaiman, we are going to scourge all intelligent life from the planet, leaving nothing but cockroaches and Trump supporters. The time for denying man-caused climate change, or the magnitude of the change, is past for any reasoning person. Trump Not so much. There will come a day when Trump, his fossil fuel lobbyists and the politicians they have purchased will be held in the same contempt as Congressmen who defended slavery, or claimed tobacco was harmless. Grade: F
Our national government still remains broken. For the first time since the prelude to the Civil War, a political party set its agenda as obstructing everything the last president proposed.
Remember when the “loyal opposition” meant cooperating between the political parties? Trump’s tax bill was enacted without meaningful input from Democrats. Not one hearing. WC had hoped that the Republican-controlled Congress would limit the damage that our piggish president created and, just this once, place the interests of the nation above their own failed agendas. Didn’t happen. Grade F
The American people re-discover their values.
The videos of a 2016 Trump campaign rally were terrifying. It’s now beyond question that as a people, many Americans have lost their way. Out of fear, or revenge or some even darker emotion, half of American voters have come to embrace things a generation ago we rejected as morally repugnant. First it was torture; the United States led the prosecution of torturers and war criminals after World War II. Now, seemingly, we endorse torture. A nation of immigrants – American Indians and Alaska Natives excepted – now wildly cheers erecting Berlin Walls along our borders, of blocking refugees out of irrational fear, and turning back refugee children. The closest thing to hope was Alabama voters’ rejection of a pedophile as a U.S. senator. It’s terrifying that we can regard this as good news. Grade: D
Find a path to reduce income inequality. In the United States, income inequality is at its greatest extreme since the Gilded Age.
It’s pretty unbelievable, but the only major legislation to emerge from the Republican-controlled federal government will magnify this crisis. The tax law will only magnify this crisis. The middle class in America is vanishing like the polar sea ice. The Republicans are supplying more heat. Grade: F
Reform Campaign Finance and Lobbying. It’s more than the deluded, disproven ideas the U.S. Supreme Court espoused in Citizens United.
It’s even more than the ludicrous claim that major campaign donors don’t have out-sized influence with the candidates they support. If you think that a politician who has accepted a six-figure contribution in her last campaign, making a call to that donor for a contribution for the next campaign, won’t do what the donor wants, well, WC envies you your pink, fuzzy, warm delusions. Progress? Zilch, laughable in the current political environment. Grade: F
A Chance in Control of Congress in 2018.
Short of a messy revolution or massive number of election recalls or impeachments, the earliest we can start to fix our badly broken government is the Congressional elections of 2018. If there is sufficient voter dissatisfaction, control of the U.S. House would shift and possibly even the U.S. Senate. WC hopes planning starts now. Grade: I