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Ten Good Things About 2015:

It will be too easy for writers and columnists to formulate their Worst Moments of 2015 lists this year because, once again, gun events—terrorist and otherwise—will dominate those lists. Reflection on the darkness enveloping our lives is necessary and inevitable, but for a few column inches I’d like to tout some good things that happened this year because the totality of our humanity—if I can borrow a busy word from 2015—matters.

The Collapse of Trump

Mediocrity and weakness permeates the Republican presidential candidate array, so it’s easy to see how someone with ego to burn would pull focus. But now, even before 2016 begins, Trump’s numbers are subsiding as his barking becomes more inane and his “ideas” offend the very nature of what America stands for. Our national nightmare will be over soon. Thanks, Donald… it was fun while it lasted. Now please, back into your cave. We have a 21st century to run here.

Opening the Door to Cuba

The opening of relations with Cuba, which in just the last few weeks has included cultural exchanges and plans for more direct U.S. flights to the island, was long overdue from an America with much more serious fish to fry. Put simply, the Cubans never crashed their planes into our buildings or shot up our Christmas parties. It was time to start working with them again.

The Containment of Junk Content

The Internet giveth and the Internet taketh away. Some of the best “television” shows available on-demand make their home online, but in a roundabout way the Internet now also works as a kind of holding tank that keeps banality out of our faces. Netflix will be releasing Adam Sandler’s next four films online, preventing them from stinking up movie theaters and making them much easier to ignore.

The Triumph of Facts

Social media also gives and takes away, but one contribution it seemed to make this year was the free and unfettered distribution of facts and truth in the face of those who would rather keep drinking conservative Kool-Aid. Memes that highlighted and repeated the accomplishments of our President were everywhere online; a kind of steady current of electricity feeding a Taser aimed at conservative distortions.

The Fall of the Confederacy

It was sad that it required a tragic racist attack on a church to bring about the removal of Confederate flags flying over state government buildings, but finally this souvenir of a bad idea from our past was seen for what it was. Now if we could lose that dog poop emoticon…

Global Warming Accords

Just knowing that world leaders gathered even to acknowledge global warming was good news, but we also got some commitments out of their meeting. I was sorry they didn’t publicly spank the executives at Volkswagen in an international “Old Mill”, but maybe that’s coming.

Hillary Beats Benghazi

Your mileage may vary, but in the view from here it appeared that Hillary Clinton put down the waste of time and tax payers dollars that was the on-going investigation of Benghazi. In a larger sense, it was a moment when Republicans finally ran out of spew in front of cameras. Now if representatives like Darell Issa would begin spending, say, half as much time on the needs of war veterans we might have a happier New Year.

Specifics Matter

“Black Lives Matter” was a direct and effective call-out to Americans on the issues involved, and that nomenclature never needed to be amended or edited or refocused. We’re not “post-racial”, and we’ve got to deal with that. We know all lives matter, as witnessed by this next event…

Marriage Equality

LGBT persons adopt children, make families that work, and I’m pretty sure they pay their taxes. Why were they ever denied the right to be married? As for someone who would refuse to bake somebody a wedding cake because of who they love, I wish that person a very sad Christmas.

And Santa Still Has a Gig

Jostled by economic ups and downs and those who are aging-out of “the Santa thing”, it appears the jolly elf still has plenty of work in the next few days. Leave out some gluten-free cookies and almond milk, and maybe a note that lets him know you still believe in the hope celebrated during this season.

in Opinion
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