New Year. What can we expect? Perhaps the best news is this: Robin Williams cannot die again. That one time was plenty for me. Russia cannot invade Crimea again. They haven't left since the last time they came rolling in, pushing people around and making people remember just who put the "in" in Stal"in," Vladimir Put"in." Russians are in Crimea, and not just for the bargains at the after-Christmas sales at the Apple Store. Jay Leno can't retire from the Tonight Show again. even if he is creeping back onto TV in that way he has. Note to Jimmy Fallon: check your brakes before you take any long drives in the country. We can also stop looking for the Malaysian Airlines jet, since now we have an Air Asia plane to find. Bowe Bergdahl can't be sent back to active duty in Afghanistan, not because he's been cleared of all wrongdoing, but because the army doesn't shoot deserters the way they used to and we seem to be just about done with our longest war. It would be a fabulous thing to say at the beginning of a new year that we don't have to worry about war anymore, but ongoing conflicts across the globe don't lend themselves to making any sort of obscure or joyful predictions about peace in our time.
As the boys in the band have reminded us time and again, "nothing changes on New Year's Day." Partisan politics that reached a new and bizarre peak in this year's mid-term election show no signs of slowing down. If anything, business as usual will continue as we ramp up to a presidential election that will only serve to heighten the contrast between red and blue. At the same time, the contrast between blue and black and white has become even more of a pressing concern. Drawing lines and picking sides in this fight starts to feel like a zero sum game, but it's the one we seem to be playing on an almost daily basis. In 2015, it would be nice if we could find an answer with which we could all agree. Stay tuned.
Ebola and LeBron James, Michael Sam and ISIS, all that news that came and went in 2014. The war continues. The battles rage on. We fight the good fight, though sometimes we don't know which side is the right side. Maybe in 2015 it will be as easy to discern right from wrong as right from left. It should be that easy. It's a brand new year.