Commentary on current events, politics, government, and popular culture from John Sheirer, author of the book, Make Common Sense Common Again.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Not-So-Shocking Predictions for 2015

As the new year begins, let's look into our fake crystal ball and predict some of the biggest news stories of 2015.

President Obama will take executive action to help the American people, and most Republicans will pretend that no president in history ever took any similar actions, and they'll shout that Obama is an evil dictator who also happens to be a clueless pawn manipulated by special interests.

Critics of the president will simultaneously claim he should be nicer and tougher on Republicans. They will not see the slightest contradiction in their views.

Clear evidence will show that Obamacare continues to help Americans get high-quality, affordable health insurance, saving millions of dollars and thousands of lives. Republicans will continue to claim that the law is a Socialist train wreck meant to destroy American and kill Grandma.

A plane will crash somewhere the Eastern Hemisphere under mysterious circumstances. Within hours of the first reports, someone will claim that President Obama is happy that a plane crashed so the media will be too distracted to ask questions about Benghazi.

Despite multiple investigations that have shown no wrongdoing by the presidential administration, Republicans in Congress will spend millions of taxpayers' dollars to convene Benghazi hearings, asking questions that have been repeatedly answered while casting blame where none exists and trying to score cheap political points from a tragedy.

The evidence that global climate change is already affecting us will be overwhelming, but people addicted to the conservative agenda and fossil fuels will rant that obvious reality is a liberal hoax.

An exotic disease that causes untold suffering in other parts of the world will make a brief appearance in the United States. Our public health system will prevent the disease from spreading, but elected Republicans and conservative media pundits will fearmonger and blame President Obama for an outbreak that doesn't happen.

Marriage equality will bring an improved level of civilization to many states and simultaneously bring cries of the end of civilization from many conservatives.

Several truly terrible former, current, and prospective politicians will be the focus of speculation about a run for the Republican Presidential nomination. None of these people will ever be president, thank God.

Some conservative pundits and Republican presidential candidates will make offhand remarks implying that Hillary Clinton is too old to run for president. Most of the people making these comments will actually be older than Hillary Clinton.

Some reality-impaired commentators will go on obscure right-wing talk shows to warn everyone that President Obama plans to cancel the 2016 elections and stay in the presidency. Thousands if not millions of gullible people will nod their heads in agreement. At least one Republican member of Congress will repeat this laughable claim as if it deserves serious consideration.

Vladimir Putin will continue to defy international common sense and run the Russian economy into the ground while many fake-patriots will praise Putin as somehow superior to our own president.

Extremist Muslims will kill innocent people, and many conservative pundits will blame an entire religion. Extremist Christians will kill innocent people, and many conservative pundits will call them "lone wolves."

After a shooting, Republicans will tell everyone that mental health, not guns, is the real issue. Then these same Republicans will try to destroy Obamacare, the largest expansion of mental health treatment access in American history.

Several rouge police officers will kill or injure unarmed civilians, and anyone who demands that these bad apples be held accountable will be accused of hating all police officers.

Some Democratic candidates for office will pretend that they don't support many of President Obama's positions. They will lose. Some Republican candidates will pretend that they support many of Obama's positions, being careful not to name the president. They will win.

A dwindling but loud contingent of insecure conservatives will claim that the phrase "Happy Holidays" is oppressive to the hundreds of millions of Americans who freely celebrate Christmas with no hint of actual oppression.

Some elected Democrats and liberal commentators will make occasional remarks that are not completely accurate. Hundreds of elected Republicans and conservative pundits will frequently make blatantly false statements. Instead of researching the issues and pointing out falsehoods, the mainstream corporate media will coddle both sides equally as if equating truth and lies makes their reporting unbiased.

Fox News will make many ridiculous claims about President Obama--that he's trying to ban cupcake sprinkles, for example. Yet Fox will still be the highest-rated "news" network in the world because dishonesty and fake outrage have always been components of Fox's successful business model.

Obviously, we really don't need a crystal ball to predict what will happen in 2015. The best predictor of the near future has always been the recent past. All of the predictions listed here are actually events that happened in 2014. Many also popped up in 2013. And 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, etc. You get the idea.

A good New Year's resolution might be to recognize the pattern. Let's stop being surprised and call out these events in the coming year, holding the misinformers accountable. Better yet, let's work to prevent as much of this insanity in 2015 as we can.


This column originally appeared in my hometown newspaper, the award-winning Daily Hampshire Gazette. 

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