It’s the end of the year, folks, which means it’s time to reflect on resolutions from this last year and make up new ones for 2013. I have yet to come up mine, but I think now would be a good time to talk about what there is to look forward to next year.
- A more progressive Congress? A little over a month ago, the general election brought massive change in demographics to Congress, which is very hopeful for future legislation. For example, it seems as though conservatives are constantly seeking to put restrictions on abortion or access to contraception. Similarly, we were fortunate to see a couple more states legalize gay marriage and see Minnesota strike down the marriage amendment. While the outcome of these pieces of legislation came from registered voters, it still shows what lies ahead for the next congress. Legislators from both sides have spoken up against injustices, and I hope that these protests inspire others to stop caring about party politics and learn to accept all people. Republicans are starting to recognize that they can’t target white Christian men anymore; they must appeal to a broader audience if they ever hope to win another presidency. If they learn to adapt, they could also learn to be more tolerant (because let’s be honest, it’ll be a long time until Republicans will accept things like gay marriage) toward our causes.
- Change in the Supreme Court? Another possibility for this next year is that a Supreme Court justice will retire, forcing President Obama to select a replacement. Based on his previous nominations, a retiring judge would almost certainly be replaced by a liberal one, making the court much less conservative. This doesn’t guarantee that anyone will retire–Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy, and Clarence Thomas may choose to wait it out for a few more years in case the next president is conservative. Still, the fact that the Court will take on the Defense of Marriage Act and Prop 8 raises the stakes: the possibility of the cases being decided by a more liberal court increases the chance that the rulings will be in favor of gay marriage supporters.
- “Have the talk”. After the shooting incident at Sandy Hook Elementary, we can only hope that politicians will FINALLY have the talk on guns and mental health. Heidi was right when she said that there needs to be legislation that addresses both of these issues. The documentary Bowling for Columbine, Michael Moore’s attempt at promoting discussion on gun and violence issues, is already a decade old. Since then there are still mass murders and politicians still keep sidestepping the topic. The shooting at Sandy Hook sparked more interest in looking for solutions due to the fact that most of the victims were little kids. If President Obama can recognize the need for action surely other politicians can too.
- Elect Her! If you haven’t heard already, the U of M is hosting Elect Her, an event aimed at inspiring women to be leaders and run for office. The training is free and takes place Saturday February 23rd, and I encourage everyone to apply (I will almost certainly be applying!). If you can’t make it, be sure to attend a different event put on by the Women’s Center.
- Funny speculation: on a lighter note. The Internet is coming up with some funny theories again. After the latest potential apocalypse, people are predicting that there will be an influx of babies due next September. Increases in weddings could certainly mean increases in pregnancies, although there has been end of the world condom marketing. It kind of sounds like a reverse Freakonomics, though I doubt the result will be controversial. Rather, it’s more of a cause to snicker if nine months from now there are news reports of high birth rates (hehe lots of people had sex!).
This list is barely scraping the surface of all that is going on next year. I have a feeling I’ll keep adding to this list as we near the New Year. What are you looking forward to next year? Is there anything you think that we should pay more attention to next year?