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Today (well, October 27, so technically, it’s yesterday) it’s been a year since I started my blog. Happy birthday to the little blog that could! I’d like to look at how things changed (or didn’t) in a year, both domestically and internationally.
To begin with, we’re no longer in Republican primary season–the U.S.
election is only 10 days away. (My second blog post, in October 2011, was about Hermain Cain, who was, unbelievably, leading the polls in the Republican primary at the time.)
The situation in Syria has gotten much worse. With estimates of over 30,000 killed, and many more detained, tortured, and missing, the Syrian crisis has deteriorated since its beginning in March of 2011. Bashar al Assad has remained in power longer than anyone predicted, and it doesn’t appear that “his days are numbered”, as everyone has said since the situation in Syria has gotten so horrific that it could no longer be ignored.
The narrative about Europe and the Eurozone crisis has largely remained the same. Temporary stability has been achieved due to (mostly German-based) bailouts of struggling countries like Greece.
There have been no global climate change agreements to which the US has been a party. This is, perhaps, one of the most disappointing and frightening modes of inaction to occur in the last year. We will surely pay the price for ignoring the effects we have on the climate. The common argument is that during an economic crisis, you can’t think long term. Wrong. You HAVE to think long term. Even if we can’t do everything overnight, let’s attempt to make substantial progress. Not doing anything is a cop out, and it will be fatal. We must begin, and I’m hoping that Congress passes actual legislation, and the second term of the Obama administration makes this a priority. In addition, green jobs are real jobs.
The Keystone XL pipeline legislation was not passed, and there is support by the Obama administration for alternative energy, but no legislation on the effects of climate change has passed. President Obama owes environmentalists, progressives, and the future of humanity.
The fiscal cliff (as a result of the budget deal) looms ever larger. This debt ceiling deal was, and continues to be, a terrible Hobbesian choice that never should have come up for a vote. The fact that ignorant and reckless Tea Party economic terrorists held the government and the economy hostage makes me seethe. The fact that the House will likely still retain a Republican majority of the very same (and maybe even more conservative and ignorant members) because people vote against their interests is even more upsetting.
President Obama expressed support for same sex marriage…after Joe Biden preempted his announcement. I love Joe, though. As he said in the Vice Presidential Debate against Paul Ryan, he always says what he means, and means what he says, and people know that about him.
“Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed on September 20, 2011, but was implemented in the months following the passage if the act. And guess what? No one died–directly from gays and lesbians serving in the military, anyway.
President Obama passed a first step toward Dream Act-style legislation.
Elections changed leadership in France, Italy, and other places (including Arab Spring elections), while oppression and allegations of voter fraud prevailed in places like Russia, Mauritius, and Venezuela led to new terms for Putin, Chavez, and the arrest of Mauritius’s previously ousted democratically-elected leader.
On September 11, 2012, the now infamous Benghazi terrorist attack occurred, killing four Americans, including the American ambassador to Libya. It was terribly tragic, and while an investigation is rightfully taking place, this event should not be politicized. Those who have politicized it should be ashamed.
In China, Bo Xilai’s corruption (and his wife’s murder of a British journalist), as well as the FoxConn disgrace, suicides, and strikes of workers living in inhumane conditions was revealed to the world. Even economic tigers have problems.
The “War on Women” has continued. I could write an entire blog post on this alone.
The world was stunned when Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot. There have been several deadly shootings since then.
A No Labels candidate (the magical figure who was supposed to save us from the ever-increasing chasm of partisan divide) has not materialized. Gary Johnson, the Libertarian candidate, whose party and candidacy might be the most viable electoral alternative, was not invited to the debates. Neither were any of the other candidates from outside of the two main parties.
The War in Iraq officially ended. As per President Obama’s campaign promise, the War in Afghanistan is set to end–whatever that means, exactly–in 2014.
An unprecedented amount of money (much by outside groups) has been spent on elections this season. Over $2 billion has been spent on the presidential election alone. Think of all the other things that money could’ve been spent on.
Sure, there’s a lot to be disillusioned about, but a lot of things need to change. We don’t exactly have many other options. I’m optimistic about progress. We’ll see where we are a year from today.