The Monday Morning Teaser

Happy New Year, everybody. This week, news outlets of all kinds focused on what kind of year 2022 was and what we might expect for 2023.

As you know, I am skeptical about the value of pundit speculation. I believe our political discussions spend way too much time predicting what might happen next, and most of us are not all that good at it. So my comments on the future are usually of the open-ended variety: More things can happen than we currently imagine.

But I do have an opinion on what kind of year 2022 was, or at least, how we might eventually look back on it. 2022 was a year that invited us to imagine horrible outcomes, and then to rejoice that the worst of them didn’t happen: Putin didn’t conquer Ukraine, NATO didn’t fracture, Congress didn’t logjam, Republicans didn’t sweep the midterms, January 6 wasn’t forgotten, Trump’s election-deniers won’t be overseeing the 2024 elections, and Trump himself is going to have a hard time getting nominated in 2024, much less elected.

In short, 2022 was a year of dodged bullets. If 2022 was a good year, it wasn’t an I-won-a-pony kind of good. It was more like finding out that you don’t have cancer.

But here’s the thing about dodged-bullet years: If the next few years are good, someday everyone will look back on the dodged bullets as the moments when it all turned around.

One case in point is 1942. I suspect 1942 was kind of a grim year to live through. 1940-41 had been terrible years for the Allies in World War II, and 1942 presented all kinds of possibilities for everything to go down the drain. But all year, the worst kept not happening. The Great Defeat was always looming, but it never arrived. By the end of the year, the Axis advances had been checked on all fronts, setting up the sweeping rollbacks of 1943-45.

So in retrospect, to historians who know how it all came out, 1942 was a very good year indeed, the year when it all turned around.

2022 could be like that, eventually. We just need to make some good things happen in 2023 and 2024.

I’ll spell that out in more detail in the featured post, “Partying Like It’s 1942”, which should be out shortly. That will be followed by the weekly summary, which will link to other people’s 2022 assessments (and pay little attention to their predictions). I’ll also discuss the Title 42 mess at the border and in the Supreme Court, notable recent deaths, the barrage of information from the 1-6 Committee, Trump’s taxes, and a few other things, closing with the most popular articles of the year from the humor magazine McSweeney’s. Some of those notes are still kind of rough, so the summary probably won’t get out before noon.

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  • bostonnorth  On January 2, 2023 at 11:27 am

    Even the Sift is brilliant thinking and writing
    Thank you,Doug
    And happy new year

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