With apology offered to B. Traven for the above appropriation of his words, I wanted to take a moment, as we approach 2018, to look back on tumultuous 2017 or more specifically, some of the comments made foretelling of coming events.
It takes a certain person: cocky, self-assured and thick skinned to make such predictions. I am not that person.
The trouble with predictions is this: if you are right, and remind others of that, you end up looking like a jerk. And if you are wrong, you will be reminded of that fact too often.
Another issue with predictions: the professional pontificators making them, are rarely held accountable when wrong. Instead, they remain working at places like the New York Times, CNN or MSNBC.
No, you will not hear any predictions from me. Instead, it’s more fun to look back at those foolish enough to make them to see who was right and who was wrong:
* US/Iraqi forces will drive ISIS out of Iraq. “Politico contributor Mark Perry writes that Iraqi and Kurdish forces, led by US advisors, are preparing a major push into Mosul that should result in ISIS forces being pushed out of Iraq just before the election. This should bolster Obama-Clinton favorability and further diminish Trump’s chances.” Bob Burnett, Huffington Post ; Aug. 18, 2016
— “We’re going to have to do something extremely tough over there. Like knock the hell out of them. We have to get everybody together and and we have to lead for a change. We’re being very gentle about it. We have to be very tough … It’s called leadership.” – Donald Trump, Sept. 19, 2016
— Nov. 21, 2017 Business Insider headline: “ISIS has been militarily defeated in Iraq and Syria”
* “This is Al Franken’s moment in the spotlight, and if he chooses, he could parlay his good fortune into a bid for the presidency in 2020. “– Josh Kraushaar, editorial writer Nation Magazine; Feb. 6, 2017
— Dec. 7 New York Times headline: “Al Franken to Resign From Senate.”
* “It is possible to impeach Trump. I give it till December. Yes, December. Our new special counsel, Mr. Muller (sic) has impaneled a grand jury as you know.” – Maxine Waters; Aug. 8, 2017 Interview on “The Breakfast Club”
— Dec. 26 New York daily News headline: “President Trump ‘back to work’ at golf course day after Christmas.”
* “It really does now look like President Donald J. Trump, and markets are plunging. …The disaster for America and the world has so many aspects that the economic ramifications are way down my list of things to fear. Still, I guess people want an answer: If the question is when markets will recover, a first-pass answer is never.”- Paul Krugman, NY Times; Nov. 8, 2016.
— “The economy recorded its best 6-month stretch of growth in 3 years, a sign that it might be recovering from the long spell of slow growth. The U.S. economy expanded at a solid 3% seasonally adjusted annual rate in the third quarter of 2017, according to Commerce Department data,” Tirthankar Chakraborty,
Zacks.com, Oct. 30.
* “If you think there’s still a historically significant dearth of quarterbacks and a problem with quality of play in 2017, you’re entitled to your opinion. If that’s true, though, it’s close to impossible to make an argument against Colin Kaepernick starting for a handful of NFL teams right now” – Bill Barnwell, ESPN Sports; Sept. 18, 2017
* “I think within the next 10 days somebody will sign him. I think the NFL has to come to their senses,” — Mark Geragos, attorney for Colin Kaepernick; Oct 31, 2017
–“Kaepernick doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of making it back to the NFL — not this season, and not ever. He’s done, I don’t think he’ll ever get a chance. Never again. Kaep’s not ‘good enough for the headache.” – Tony Gonzalez, TMZ Sports interview, Nov. 6
* “Hillary Clinton will become the next president of the United States. (I expect) things will settle down after the election and that Hillary will do a great job.” – Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO; Oct. 19, 2016 CNN interview
* “Trump’s presidency is effectively over. I would be amazed if he survives ’till end of the year. More likely resigns by fall, if not sooner.” – Tony Schwartz, ghost writer for “The Art of the Deal’; Aug. 16, 2017 CNN interview
— Dec. 22 Independent Journal Review headline: “Trump Signs Historic Tax Cuts Into Law: ‘A Bill for the Middle Class and a Bill for Jobs'”
As we look back on the year that was, and forward to year that will be, one thing we can count on is that dire predictions rarely come to pass. Similarly, proclamations of pending greatness follow a similar pattern. Although judging from the above, it appears that greatness is leading at the moment.
We as a nation have witnessed high levels of achievement rarely seen in history. These successes are the result of efforts made when the nation stands united, working as one. Problems arise when we are caught up in seeking to destroy others to gain some perceived advantage.
Tearing the nation apart to achieve an end is an exercise in futility, resulting too often in a backlash.
By working within the laws, while projecting a high level of integrity is what is required to bring us back to being a nation that all Americans can be proud of.
No fingers are pointed in the above comment as the guilt seen in others is usually reflective of equal culpability.
Here is to hoping that 2018 will be the year we as a nation need it to be.
Dennis Lund is a mechanical engineer who lived in Benicia for more than 20 years.