So, 2013 is coming to a close. What to say about it?
I think to me the most significant political thing that happened this year is that the Tea Party has lost it's death grip on the Republican Party and thus on the government. After stupidly shutting down the government, at a cost of about $24 billion, they lost credibility to the point that the beleaguered House Majority Leader, John Boehner finally exploded calling them "ridiculous."
Speaking of ridiculous, of course, Obamacare has gotten off to a ridiculously incompetent start, but I think that is probably fixable going forward. A reordered health care system for a country of this size will have new problems needing solving, and I have hopes that it will end up working good enough. At least the three main problems of the pre-Obamacare health system are mostly gone. That is: most of the poor now can have health coverage, those with pre-existing conditions can't be denied coverage, and a catastrophic illness will no longer bankrupt a middle class family. This ends up costing those who make decent money working for themselves more for their insurance, but I guess that's one of the trade-offs.
I am glad that the United States has managed to stay out of the religious and civil wars in the Middle East, notably staying out of Syria. We still need to provide some leadership there, but I hope we can contain that leadership to areas of diplomacy and finance, plus maybe some military training and weapons.
The Outrage Industry on talk radio, blogs, and cable TV continue unabashedly, but I am hopeful that those captured by them will start to wonder if life is as simply explained as their media leaders are saying. After all, it is one thing to present simple ideas that can be easily understood, that capitalize on people's sense of injustice and frustration, and create an audience for their own massive incomes, but is something else altogether to actually come up with doable and workable political solutions that recognize that in a nation of over 300 million people not everyone will ever agree.
Ultimately, I choose to trust that the American people will work things out, stumble haltingly forward, make incremental improvements in America and around the world, and continue in actualizing it's destiny of being a significant force for good in the world. We always have. We will continue to do so.