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January 30, 2024

Though the first weeks of January always bring a welcome relief to the craziness of any holiday season, we’ve already been presented with evidence to how truly crazy this upcoming year is bound to be.  The optimist deep inside me will no doubt be challenged, but nevertheless - I’m eager for many of these upcoming 2024 scenarios to play out.

The fraud case in NYC against an annoying, orange-colored ex-President has already closed and the judge’s verdict on the amount of cash owed should arrive soon - maybe even as I’m typing these words.  What a great accompaniment to the 83.3 million-dollar settlement determined by a jury in the E. Jean Marshall case from this past Friday.  The notion of justice prevailing is at least temporary nourishment for the soul, it seems to me. Let’s celebrate the little victories while we can!

Because headlines from these civil trials will soon be replaced with news on the criminal front.  The presumptive republican nominee is facing 91 felony counts spread out over four different cases.  I’m predicting that at least two trials will be heard before votes are cast in this year’s presidential election.  Hopefully justice will prevail again; the court system has so far proven to be the one branch of government able to withstand the pressure mounted against so many time-honored provisions of the United States Constitution.  I’m hoping this will continue to be the case.

Jack Smith appears to be up to the enormous task at hand.  I actually saw Letitia James in person this past summer and witnessed first-hand how unflappable and determined she is.  Fani Willis from Georgie is no doubt another individual capable of rising up honorably and, even more crucially, effectively.  We’re starting to learn the complete names of judges who - thankfully! - are well aware and respectful of the law.  All of these trends are nothing but positive.

The Supreme Court is obviously going to rule against the absurd idea that a sitting President should be granted complete immunity for any conceivable act taken.  I have doubts they’ll side with Colorado and Maine in removing Trump’s name off the presidential ballot, but man - wouldn’t that be amazingly great news if they did?  There’s a limit to my optimism, I know - but not to my dreams!

Now on the other side of things, I wish my democratic friends could learn to be less hesitant about vocalizing what to me is an obvious fact: Joe Biden has done a great job!  And he’s also been impressive in assembling an able and productive group of men and women around him.  There are now grown-ups in the room, so when the inevitable foreign crisis pops up, someone with intelligence is attempting to work things out.  And for this college economics major (from a LONG time ago…), it’s almost astounding to witness professionals apply an economic theory to deal with inevitable post-Covid inflation - and succeed!  Though certain cable channels never appear to notice, the US economy is booming, and this is not by accident.

Now of course the majority of news for this coming year will center around the presidential election.  And I can understand the panic and sense of doom out there, but my sense of optimism has so far not wavered.  Because, well - this is an election we must not lose!

This very morning I happened to unexpectedly come across a 1974 John Lennon interview I’d never heard before, and at one point he was asked why he still wanted to live in the United States despite persistent efforts to deport him.  And he said, “if there’s any hope in the world, America is it, however much bad side it has… it has the energy and everything else…”  He acknowledged the fact of no country being perfect, as all humans are prone to both good and bad, but the spirit here was right for the world, and for this and so many other reasons he wanted to live here.

(And only fifteen blocks away from where I currently reside, I might add!).

Well, as with most sentiments from this great artist, his encapsulation is still true fifty years later.  Democracy and human rights are not guaranteed concepts and in 2024 we are once again at a crossroads with the world watching.

2024 is fated to be a crazy year.

Hopefully it will also turn out to be one of our best!


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