Correction: Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this column was not published in its entirety. It has been updated with the full column. We regret the error.
We’ve flipped our calendar to 2020 though the ink just dried on our 2018-19 Review and Predictions, but now it’s time to go again – hopefully, older and wiser.
First, a review and comment on some of the events of 2019.
HEROES OF THE YEAR: For the 17th consecutive year, the heroes of the year are the brave young men and women serving our country in the armed forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, South Korea and other dangerous spots around the globe. Over 2,400 have died in Afghanistan, including 20 this past year and there is still great tension in all the outposts, so we’re not out of the woods yet. We want all our brothers, sisters and children home and healed – mentally and physically.
PERSON OF THE YEAR: The late Fred Rogers, from "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood,"brought back to life on the screen by Tom Hanks to reprise his gentle message for children: “I like you just the way you are, whatever your size, color and personality.” It was a simple but timeless message of love, joy, acceptance – a perfect lesson for adults and children in a divided nation in 2019. Though Rogers died in 2003, I name him person of the year for 2019.
LIVING PERSON OF THE YEAR: Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old powerhouse from Sweden, has been named Person of the Year by Time Magazine and she deserves it for her scolding of the entire world about its’ neglect of the climate change challenge. “How dare you” she lectured global leaders in her speech to the United Nations in New York in September. Hurray for Greta.
BRAVE GUY: Surveillance footage shows Keanon Lowe, a 27-year-old football coach and school security guard, grabbing a suicidal student with a loaded shotgun, taking his gun from him and hugging him, then handing the gun off to another adult.
HALLOWEEN HERO: A video from a security camera shows Jackson Champagne, age 8, going to a porch to get treats from an owner’s self-serve trick or treat bowl and finding it empty. He said, “Oh no, there’s no more candy.” So, he reached into his own bag and pulled out two handfuls of treats for the bowl. Somebody raised him right.
MYSTERY PERSON: We have never learned the name of the whistleblower who heard the infamous call from our president to the president of Ukraine.
LAST YEAR’S PREDICTIONS: Last year I predicted Mike Pence would become president during the year. Wrong.
I predicted Robert Mueller would be named person of the year. Wrong.
I predicted the Mexican American wall would not be built. Right.
I predicted somebody’s toy drone would bring down a commercial airliner. Wrong, but a drone did hit an army helicopter, though it didn’t come down.
I predicted the no-compromise attitude in politics would bounce off the bottom. How could I have been more wrong?
But I am not discouraged because my crystal ball went through a carwash and the picture is clear for my 2020 predictions:
GLOBAL WARMING: Global warming will continue for one more year without change – more hurricanes, more floods, more huge fires, more freaky winter storms, more electrical outages and more weather damage.
NEW SONG: A new hit song “Quid Pro Quo” will emerge. It will be sung to the tune of “Blue Suede Shoes.”
SCHOOL SHOOTINGS: There will be more school shootings, more killing and more thoughts and prayers, but no efforts at change except a new congressional study. The good news is that bulletproof backpacks are now in children’s sizes.
CORNBREAD SHORTAGE: With thousands of acres of corn unharvested because of wet conditions, there will be a serious yearlong cornbread shortage in 2020.
UP IN SMOKE: JUUL, the major producer of dangerous and harmful vaping products, will file for bankruptcy before the end of 2020.
RUDY GIULIANI: The most famous lawyer in the United States will lose his license to practice law in New York but will hang his shingle in North Dakota and open a new office in Bismarck.
THE ZIPPER: Ronald Reagan was called “The Gipper” because he played the role of a famous football player, George Gipp, who was known as the Gipper. In the 2020 presidential campaign, Donald Trump will be called “The Zipper” and the name will stick.
IMPEACHMENT: President Trump will survive the impeachment trial in the U.S. Senate.
ELECTION 2020: President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence will run for re-election against Joe Biden and Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan. The winner will be the top vote-getters in the Electoral College. Trust the people.
OPTIMISM: This is not a time for despair, but optimism. The American democracy is not on the verge of collapse because we have too many strong and good people, people with heart, working on the success and survival of our great country.
And finally, to you faithful readers, thank you for your encouraging comments, calls and letters. You have no idea what a lift you provide. You are getting better looking and smarter each year. Happy New Year!