AMEND CORNER: Uncertain predictions for the coming year


What’s in store for our nation in 2017?

Well, I don’t know. When God was handing out gifts, he skipped me when it came time to distribute the gift of prophecy, so I’m a bit uncomfortable predicting the future. I will, however, make one major prognostication about what will happen this year: I am absolutely certain that most of the stuff today’s prophets are handing down won’t happen.

This really isn’t a prophetic statement, though. Actually, it’s a historical observation. In my lifetime, I’ve heard hundreds of politicians, media pundits, religious leaders, businessmen, union leaders and common ordinary folks dish out hundreds — no, thousands of predictions about what awaited America. Very few of the predicted events have actually come to pass, and most of them that did failed to make the impact supporters expected them to make.

Dire predictions are especially common in years like 2017, when our nation is changing presidents, and the gap between the outgoing and incoming administrations is rather wide. Such was the case eight years ago, when President Obama won his first term, and it continued through his re-election campaign four years later. Republicans were predicting one catastrophe after another and foresaw a dismal world in 2017.

Newt Gingrich, for example, predicted gas would be going for $6 per gallon. Others predicted that the president — who, after all, is the Antichrist — would have imposed Sharia Law by now, enforced by a secret police force operating out of Wal-Marts seized by the federal government. Christians would be in FEMA re-education camps for indoctrination in Muslim thought, and the Bible would have been classified as “hate speech” and banned from being read or quoted on television or radio. And of course, death panels would be established to save money on Medicare by ridding the world of old guys like me.

My favorite prediction came from Rev. Pat Robertson, who predicted that if President Obama won re-election, by March 13, 2013, all of us would have a microchip containing the mark of the beast in our bodies. I can’t actually say for sure that such a chip was planted in me, since I spent something like eight hours in surgery in February 2013, but I’m pretty sure I am completely chipless. I do attend church much less frequently than I used to, but that has to do with how my back feels when I get up in the morning, not that I received an electronic signal from President Obama’s smart phone.

This is not to say that all criticism of President Obama is that sort of off-the-wall junk. There were and are issues with the Affordable Care Act, foreign policy and the deficit that should have taken place, but they were drowned out by talk of death panels, more and bigger 9/11-like attacks and predictions of a socialist takeover. The parties are both guilty of making that happen.

I can imagine any conservatives reading this are probably thinking, “What about the gloomy predictions liberals make about climate change?” and “What about the things they have said about Pres.-elect Trump?”

Well, yes, there have been some mindless things said about Mr. Trump, and I’m not defending them. I have to say, though, that he invited a lot of them with his rhetoric, and he made as many, if not more mindless attacks on his Republican opponents and Ms. Clinton. As a result, he never made much of an effort to defend the actions he would take as president. And that’s too bad, because there are some real issues behind his promises and they need to be debated.

I have a number of concerns about what a President Trump will do, but even though Republicans control Congress, I don’t think many of the actions he has said he will do will actually take place. Like all presidents, he will find that being the president is different from running for president. He will find some of his promises impossible to keep. Already, he has said that his 10-foot wall on the border will likely be more of a fence, for example, and Republicans in Congress may balk at his plan for billions of dollars on infrastructure or rounding up undocumented aliens and bussing them back to Mexico. He may also have Congressional Republicans, and maybe even some of his Cabinet members, unhappy if he abandons free trade, and two powerful Republicans want to investigate Russian hacking into our computer network, which Mr. Trump doesn’t think is necessary.

I have other concerns about his presidency as well.  I’m pretty sure that many who voted for Trump will be unhappy and maybe even angry with him when the wonderful plan he says he has to replace the Affordable Care Act turns out to be imaginary, or the jobs he promises to create don’t pay as well as the jobs they replace or require skills and education they don’t have. Add to that the fact that he has included some of the same people he condemned Ms. Clinton for associating with in important advisory positions, and I seriously doubt whether his promises are worth anything.

Well, as I said at the beginning, I’m no prophet. The next four years may not be as unsettling as I think they will be. But if we are better off as a nation four years from now, I will be surprised.