As we sing “Auld Lang Syne” and lift our glasses of Champagne for the last time in 2015, let us take a moment to look back at the past year and hope for good things in 2016.
The past year saw both heartache and joy. Heartache for all those impacted by the brutality of ISIS. From beheading of hostages to the attack in Paris. From the slaughter of innocents in San Bernardino by radical ISIS sympathizers to the murders and fear ISIS is responsible for instilling in so many peace-loving Syrians who are fleeing by the millions to places where they hope to feel safe.
The year 2015 also gave us the clown car of candidates running in the Republican primary for president. Donald Trump will say anything to instill fear in the American people. He appears to have adopted Fascism, modeling himself after Mussolini and the early years of Hitler, calling to ban immigrants based on religion and supporting a registry of all Muslims in the country. Sen. Marco Rubio said the issue of marriage equality is not settled law; Ben Carson doesn’t know much of anything but says God wrote our Constitution; Gov. Chris Christie says he is friends with the deceased King Hussein of Jordan; and Sen. Ted Cruz is the current incarnation of Sen. Joseph McCarthy.
We must never forget the heartache of the church massacre in Charleston, S.C., and the shooting in Colorado Springs at Planned Parenthood and remember all the other shootings of innocents around the nation and our inability to pass reasonable gun control. The shootings of young black men by police that are encouraging people to speak out under the banner of the Black Lives Matter movement and bring the need for justice reform into the presidential election contest was another important story of 2015.
Good things happened as well last year. The economy continued to grow and the unemployment rate is the lowest in years. On June 26, we saw same-sex marriage become the law of the land when the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 it was protected by the Constitution. The Obama administration had major successes, first negotiating a deal with Iran to put off any chance of their having a nuclear bomb for 15 years; and most recently achieving an agreement signed by nearly 200 nations committing them to lowering planet-warming green-house gas emissions to ameliorate the most drastic impact of climate change. On the lighter side, Bryce Harper won the National league MVP and some of us truly enjoyed the video of his posing for ESPN The Magazine’s 2015 Body Issue.
The year 2016 will be a year of change in America and the world. As the war on ISIS continues, let’s hope the United States will lead a coalition that will defeat them. There will be a presidential election in November but first we will spend the next 10 months hearing candidates’ debate and challenge each other. Republican candidates will try to outdo each other with outrageous comments and we can only hope the level heads in the party, if any still exist, will prevail.
My hope is Hillary Rodham Clinton will win the Democratic nomination. Then Sen. Bernie Sanders will do for her what Hillary did in 2008 for Barack Obama, and join her in Unity, N.H., urging all his supporters to unite behind her candidacy to elect the first woman president of the United States. He will remind his supporters if a Republican wins there is no chance of accomplishing anything he campaigned for.
This year will not be an easy one for the world. There will continue to be terrorist attacks and innocent people will die as the world debates how to respond to radical jihadists. But it may be the year decent people around the world begin to band together to fight the evil that exists.
I wish all Blade readers peace, good health and happiness throughout the year.
Peter Rosenstein is a longtime Democratic Party and LGBT rights activist.