Predictions and other guesses

It’s stupid to think opening a new calendar will magically create change in our world. Likewise, no one should expect that inaugurating a new president will transform our political climate into sunshine and rainbows.

Trump is spending his last weeks in office alternately kicking and screaming or playing golf. At noon on January 20, he will quietly head to Mar-a-Lago to resume Fake News via Twitter. Unfortunately, his pact with Palm Beach states that no one—not even the owner and former president—can assume residency in that club for more than three weeks, in separate seven-day intervals.

I predict the Biden administration, hoping for unity and comity, will decline to indict Trump for various shenanigans, but the state of New York has at least two cases in the works, and there is the civil case of slander for his mocking a woman whom he denies sexually assaulting many years ago. To avoid court, Trump will move to Moscow, where he can share caviar and non-alcoholic vodka with Putin, safe from extradition, and build a resort on the Black Sea to live out his stormy last years. Melania will get a billion-dollar book deal and ask Michelle Obama to ghostwrite it.

Prediction: The two Georgia Senate races (decided before this paper goes to press) will be won by Republicans, giving Mitch McConnell backup to continue Senate inaction on helping the unemployed, vaccinating the populace, attempts to slow down climate change, and anything else the new president may want to push.

On Tuesday, Congress will officially accept Joe Biden as president, despite the ugly time-wasting move to overturn the November vote led by senators from our two neighboring states, Josh Hawley of Missouri and Texan Ted Cruz. Both these clowns hope to inherit the mantle of Trumpism and run for the White House next time. I am relieved our enterprising Senator Tom Cotton rejected this futilitarian maneuver; he is no less ambitious than those nuts, but he is clever enough to understand that Republicans might pick Cotton as more reasonable.

Prediction: Arkansas will elect a Republican woman governor, either Sarah Huckabee Sanders or Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.

Somehow Biden will hold a socially distanced inauguration, and deliver a speech calling on all Americans to come together and pretend to get along again. Again? When has that ever happened? From the revolution on, we have always had factions fighting against compromise and commonality.

I observe some attitudinal change in public, however. Markets have become the least risky venues, with cashiers, clerks and customers masked, polite and patient. Simple grocery shopping cannot be hurried anymore, we have to move cautiously, and shelves may be emptied of any given item without explanation. When I started wearing a mask in public last March, I got stared at and mocked; now I communicate by nodding my head to others in the same predicament.

I do not expect vaccinations to be widely available in Carroll County for months. After politicians, elders, medical and nursing home personnel get vaccinated, the magic bullet will go to people based on wealth. Worldwide, rich folks in big cities will get access; small towns and rural counties will be way down the list.

So, we will continue to stay at home as much as possible, wearing masks and avoiding people, scrubbing our hands and disinfecting after our careful adventures into the land of corona. We managed to host two back porch birthday parties in September, masked six feet apart from our two or three visitors.

The day after Christmas the kids came by on a warmish afternoon to exchange gifts and lower their masks to drink punch and eat homemade burritos, which have become my wife’s preferred pandemic menu because they are individually wrapped and no one shares utensils.

Maybe next September we can sit at the table and play games or play guitars with a few people, but I ain’t counting on it. People say they have pandemic fatigue and want life to be normal again. This is the norm.

Live not in fear, but in constant awareness that a nasty virus may be coming soon to a neighborhood like yours. 2020 lives on.

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