by Milo Clark
(Swans - January 1, 2007) My first and then enduring sense is that 2007 will be a year of surprises.
I have few expectations for a Democratic majority Congress. However, if the Patriot Act and other attacks on domestic civil rights are trashed, I will be impressed. If Guantánamo Bay detention center (Bagram, etc.) is closed and renditions rendered obsolete, I will be impressed. If deficit spending is sent to the showers, DOD budget pared significantly, and generals sent to pastures, I will be impressed. If ethical standards for lawmakers are strengthened, I will be impressed. If more of the needs of the needy are met, I will be impressed.
If G. W. Bush shows himself chagrined by adopting scruples to some meaningful degree, I will be impressed. If Cheney kisses his pregnant and gay daughter in public, I will be impressed. If Condi Rice gives Imelda Marcos her shoe collection, I will also be impressed.
If the juice driving the unscrupulous, conscious-less conservative religious right would drain off, I would be impressed.
My greatest hope for 2007 is emergence of a genuine leader, principled and forthright. Given the evolving nature of politics as corruption updated and unfettered, an inspiring aspirant for the oval office would be great surprise.
Both Hillary Clinton and Mr. Obama are hedging their bets doing politics as politics may need doing in the age of money power and corporate dominance. Yet they remain uninspiring to the max.
Al Gore has done and is doing a wonderful job roaming the world and doing his Inconvenient Truth slideshow on global warming. Gore, not running for president, is downright brilliant. Dennis Kucinich is much too short and untelegenic to get the nod, but he says good things in a forceful way. A Gore-Kucinich ticket for 2008?
Recently I read an article about twenty years old that stated that a senatorial candidate needed to raise $10,000 a week to be a serious contender. This week, I read another article saying that a senatorial candidate now needs to raise an average of $12,500 a day to run.
Ronnie Raygun, who gutted the equal time requirement that has opened money-runs-politics to get TV and radio time, is named as the 17th most influential American in an Atlantic Monthly list. Just about says it all.
Overall, I enter 2007 with minimal expectations. Therefore, I can be easily surprised. . . I hope.
Meanwhile, don't drink and drive.
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