First, I am a perennially hopeful person. (And thus a perennially disappointed person, but that’s another tale).
Second, 12 is one of the sacred numbers, and no that’s not superstitious, it’s sacramental.
And third, 2011 was a rough year for me personally.
Of course, it was also the rare year when some very good things occurred on the world stage, from the revived labor movement, sprung back to life in light of assaults on collective bargaining in Wisconsin, Ohio, and other places. And it was the year of the Occupy Movement, which however inchoate was indeed an inspiring thing and hopefully the beginning of a genuine call to reform of the economic system.
However, one need not be clairvoyant to foresee that this is going to be one weird year. The presidential campaign will guarantee that. Every four years you think that it can’t get stupider and uglier, and then four years later it does. It might be comical were it not for the fact that the winner ends up in a position where he or she can wreak global havoc.
By the way, I think that Obama will be reelected. What? He has disappointed the principled Left, and he is abhorrent to the Right and his dumping of borrowed money on the banksters and industrialists hasn’t exactly had a dramatic effect, save on the pocketbooks of the wealthy.
On the other hand, whatever hairball the GOP coughs up and calls a candidate is going to make the president look good. Romney will make him look authentic, Gingrich will make him look clean and disciplined, Perry, Bachman, or Santorum will make him look intelligent. And Ron Paul does not stand a chance (and I will write more about why he doesn’t deserve one).
But is anything more absurd than a Democratic multimillionaire, who has filled his campaign coffers with unprecedented amounts of Wall Street money, denouncing Wall Street?
Yes, there is: a Republican multimillionaire (take your pick) denouncing “class warfare”.
Obama’s newfound populism will win him reelection, if only because the Republicans appear bent on championing wealth and power. And who knows; Obama may even institute some modest reform, if only from political expediency. But don’t count on it.
And then there is the Mayan calendar, which ends December 21, 2012. I don’t expect that too many will get too crazed about it but some will; I’m told that in the parts of Central America where the descendents of the Maya live they are preparing to celebrate what they view as the beginning of another cosmic cycle, not the end of the world.
But it should add to the general craziness of the coming year.
But whatever is waiting in the wider world, I hope that your life and the lives of your families and communities are blessed this year.
I’d like to begin the year with one of my favorite prayers, the Litany of Peace, from the Divine Liturgy, which covers just about everything (the response to each petition is “Lord have mercy”):
-In peace let us pray to the Lord.
-For peace from on high and the salvation of our souls, let us pray to the Lord.
-For peace in the whole world, the well-being of the holy churches of God, and the union of all, let us pray to the Lord.
-For this house and for those who enter it with faith, reverence, and fear of God, let us pray to the Lord.
-For all the bishops, priests, deacons, clergy, and people, let us pray to the Lord.
-For our public servants, for the government and all who protect us, that they may be upheld and strengthened in every good deed, let us pray to the Lord.
-For our city and every city and country and the faithful living in them, let us pray to the Lord.
-For favorable weather, an abundance of the fruits of the earth, and for peaceful times, let us pray to the Lord.
-For the travelers by sea, air, and land, for the sick, the suffering, for the captives, and for their salvation, let us pray to the Lord.
-For our deliverance from all affliction, wrath, danger, and need, let us pray to the Lord.
-Help us, save us, have mercy on us, and protect us, O God, by your grace.
-Remembering our all-holy, spotless, most highly blessed and glorious Lady, the Mother of God and ever-virgin Mary, with all the saints let us commend ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God. Amen.