I spent some time over the holidays pondering whether it was more appropriate to pen a eulogy for 2014 or one for 2015.
Ultimately I decided 2014’s broken heart and crippled spirit should be silently laid to rest; it’s the immediate future that mortifies.
If you’re old enough you can’t help but wonder where the country might be now had not John, Martin and then Bobby been assassinated. America is in a woeful state: Congress appears wholly bought off by the multinationals, recent attempts at an affordable universal health care system will soon be dismantled at the bidding of the pharmaceutical/medial/insurance conglomerate, the
Stasi US government has decreed (over very little public and nonexistent Congressional objection) that privacy in American is not only dead, but is merely a quaint affectation to be found only in historical fictions. Thanks to Roberts & The Supremes fascism/corporatism has replaced democracy. The media have all but quit reporting relevant news, instead opting for fear mongering of the worst sort. Our school systems are a disgrace, race relations are scarily dysfunctional, our cities bankrupt or soon to be, and our crumbling national infrastructure is ignored in order to bestow unlimited wealth upon an arvacious military-industrial complex – all to fend off foes unlikely to ever reach our shores.
There’s more, much more, but you get the idea. 1 America has reduced itself to an impulsive cutter: full of self loathing and unable to cope with our emotions, we constantly open our veins to bleed out Take Back the Night vigils, Occupy protests and frantic Ebola watch parties. As though that were not enough we set our police on minorities with such impunity the beaten and shot lay bloody in our streets for hours on end.
If the above sounds like a country totally unconcerned with its future, congratulations – you’ve been paying attention. Expect more of the same in 2015.
If you believe Gen Xer’s or the Millineials will reverse this trend, you’re barking up the wrong tattooed, iPod plugged, self-regarding stand of trees. These two generations long ago realized America’s immediate future held no promise of a decent standard of living, much less meaningful work, and have Gone Galt…or, you know, would have had they jobs; 2 indeed, the term working class is now pejorative, as though that great bulk of Americans deserved to be fleeced by the fat cat banking system and Bush The Lesser’s war-debt back in 2008.
Again, it will worsen.
The upcoming dynastic octagon cage-match between Jeb “Last Drip” Bush and Hillary “Benghazi!” Clinton will offer nothing more than a continued assault on the Republic: both parties are unconcerned with the effects on the hoi polloi of peak oil 3, fracking-induced earthquakes & subsequent pollution, much less the ever diminishing wages of a ‘recovered’ economy, or the eventual scarcity of food to due our insane water policies and a seemingly endless drought.
The Old South religious fundamentalists (The Tea Party) will be heard of course, but their base is cottoning on to their tricks: less and less people actually care about gay marriages or abortions or what or what not would Jebus do in a give situation. These people are all to poor to be concerned about those old stalking horses. More, they’ve begun to suspect that the politicians attempting to get them all het up on the topics care less than they do, that this latest breed of carpet-baggers are just out to misdirect them while they pilfer the treasury. And they would be correct.
This is not the direction JFK, MLK and Bobby would have had us head.
Perhaps it is foolish to imagine those worthies could have altered the country’s course such we would not be living under a crypto-fascist state, perhaps not.
None the less, all of that leaves us…where? Well, in 2015 I see more of the same and then some:
- It will continue to be all but impossible for Americans to rise to a higher income level;
- America will move closer to outright criminalization of dissent;
- The number of Wall Street execs prosecuted for contributing to the financial crisis will remain miniscule while simple drug possession arrests will continue to skyrocket (over 750,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession last year);
- Wall Street will fuck us over again in 2015: all the financial sleight-of-hand that contributed to The Great Recession was quietly making a comeback in 2014, and with the Frank-Dodd Act just recently neutered, well…don’t put any of your eggs in Wall Street’s basket, is all I’m sayin’; 4
- America’s shale oil boom will die. Messily. Jobs will be shed, pension funds will take a direct hit;
- Those Too Big To Fail entities? Goldman Sachs, B of A, Citicorp, Morgan Stanley, et alia? Most will declare themselves insolvent; 5
- Expect oil to yo-yo throughout the year: maybe $70 per barrel by May and then back down to under $50 by October; 6
- Expect an exacerbation of the last decade’s low-grade racial warfare to flare up across America: a pushback to violent looting flash mobs and the stupidity of knock-out games will eventually cause counter-attacks, some of them inevitably fatal;
- In parallel with the race wars 2015 will be the year that actual revolt can be sensed: both the Dems and the Rethugs realize they’re in a life and death struggle for relevancy and the lumpen mass realize there’s a brief, albeit violent, window of opportunity to push back against both the
Stasithe federal government and America’s ongoing militarization of our police forces.
- The Rethug’s sub rosa war on women will continue unabated.
Closer to home:
- Mayor James wins reelection, but only because the most honest and charismatic opponent he faces –Chastain– is an out-of-town whack-job with a long (and not all that sparkling) history; hell, he’ll probably get caught hitting on a voter again during his campaign;
- The city council elects a combination on neophytes and retreads: nothing of import gets done the first year – no one is surprised;
- The city finds another quasi-legal (though thoroughly backhanded and unethical) way to expand their useless streetcar line, though it is too late for any number of businesses that folded due to the perpetual construction mess that put off their customers;
- The Kemper fiasco reaches a quiet zenith with the city giving in and contributing far too much money to a scheme that only benefits…the Kempers;
- Both The Royals and the Chiefs will come nowhere near the playoffs in 2015 but will continue to make obscene profits for their owners: baseball writers totally rethink their current positive stance toward Ned Yost; Andy Reid is suddenly let go – no one is really surprised in either case;
- Kansas sinks further into economic despair: Brownback, giddily off his meds, continues to live in an alternate universe; Pat Roberts suddenly dies of a previously known (though undisclosed) illness; Bob Dole finally dies, the cause of death a fatal hardening of attitude – again, no one is really surprised;
- Missouri’s Attorney General Chris Koster continues to deny he’s a whore; the Missouri legislature, which has seen Koster drop his undies in a blink of an eye on numerous ocasions, pretends to believe him – no one is surprised;
- Kevin Yoder does something underhanded and disgusting: Kansans mark down on their calendars his next reelection date so they can Keep Kansas Red! – no one yadda yadda yadda…;
- Rex Sinquefield elects Bev Randles as Lieutenant Governor and Catherine Hanaway as Governor; 7
- The Kansas City Star continues to be less than useless: it investigates nothing important and shrinks in size, scope and influence.
There you have it – my eulogy for the coming year: plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose, n’est-ce pas? 8
In addition to buckling up, you might want to check on the airbags and have a roll bar installed – 2015 looks to be a particularly ugly year.
- Global warming, climate change, endless militarism, deliberately asinine drug policies, our corrupt prison system… ↩
- Unless one counts social media and its ilk, though why anyone might is beyond our ken. ↩
- Yes, gas prices are low…for now. ↩
- it doesn’t help that the US is using our currency in a war against…everybody. Between that and the drop in crude oil prices I would soon expect China and Russia to make a case that the dollar doesn’t deserve reserve status. Don’t know if they’ll be successful, but just the raised notion could make our trading partners more antsy and less likely to invest in our treasuries. ↩
- And who in their right mind would stand for them being bailed out? Again? ↩
- This last assumes relative “peace” in the Mideast; should a major war arise, well it’s every man for himself and expect profiteering of the worst sort. ↩
- Yes, we’re aware the election proper won’t take place until 2016 – what’s that got to do with anything? ↩
- If all you see is a list of predictions, you’re doing it wrong. ↩