The highs and lows of 2022
Wokeness, Justice Gorsuch, China, the southern border, the permanent victim class, poor candidates, our frail society... somebody stop me!
Remember - if you’re cold, they’re cold.
Let's start off on a positive note. The biggest success of 2022 is that it wasn't 2020. Twenty twenty was the year of bad decisions - a year that will beget consequences for decades. Twenty twenty was also the year that Joe Biden was declared the least awful choice for POTUS, making 2022 closer to the probable end of his time in office.
A low of 2022 was the election of George Santos (R-New York) to Congress based on a largely fabricated resume. The fact that one may get elected to Congress under such circumstances does not speak well for our system of selecting candidates - in either party. I'm pretty sure that Santos will not be seated, but who knows? Stranger things have happened. How, for instance, do you explain Joe Biden?
Another high point of 2022 was the outcome of the mid-terms. I thought that Republicans would make a much stronger showing than they did. That’s because about the only voters who don't despise the left are the left. But it's encouraging to see that even worse charlatans on the right are regraded poorly by most voters. That's a reason for optimism.
Democratic victories resulted in two things that I think bode well for the future. The first is that Dems continue to confuse “popular” with “slightly less terrible” - to their detriment. The second is that the Republicans seem to be learning that it's entirely possible to be mostly right on the issues and still lose with bad candidates. I think they'll fix this.
Wokeness was both a low and a high of the year. The low was its ubiquitous nature. The high was the increasing resistance to it.
Although there many in business, government and academia who allowed themselves to get rolled by wokeness because they are, themselves, petty tyrants of their own turf who lack the courage to confront BS when they encounter it, many others just value serenity over conflict. I can't fault that. Sometimes I even wish that I could be more like that myself.
Relax, that urge lasts for about a nanosecond before I come back to my senses.
Each time another person pushes back on leftist cancel mobs, calls out race hustlers, stands up for merit, effort and competence, it encourages the conflict-adverse folks find their voice. Bullies usually have more gears in reverse than forward because they need to get away fast when confronted by someone who isn't having any of their crap. That's why wokesters would rather form cancel mobs than debate – one works for them a lot better than the other. I'm pleased that the woke are being exposed for the frail, vacuous authoritarians that they are.
On a related note, a downer of '22 is that we are now about two decades into the development of the frailest society ever to exist. There seems to be no end to victim-hood and endless searching for something to be offended by. I'm sorry that there are still a few members of the Greatest Generation around who have to witness the decline of the society they fought bravely to defend, decades ago, in their final years.
The controversy of Whoopi Goldberg's recent remarks concerning the Holocaust is tragically silly. If you are unfamiliar with it, a perfunctory Internet search will bring you up to speed. It's a brilliant example of the woke eating the woke. And while it's tempting to cheer this, if not to pile on, it's wrong to do so if you oppose wokeness on principle rather than convenience.
Ms. Goldberg's comments on race and the Holocaust are absurd. There is some thought behind them, albeit less than great, but what do you expect? She's a Hollywood maven, not a philosopher. The best response to bad speech is better speech. Ms. Goldberg should have the right to explain herself to her critics, as she has attempted to do, and then move on. If ignorance were indeed a crime, we'd have to build a lot more jails.
An absolute low of '22 is the ongoing crisis at our southern border. The federal government has limited responsibilities that are actually enumerated in the Constitution. Responsibility for securing our borders is one of them. I'm generally not in favor of handing the government any additional responsibility because they can't even handle what they have now.
I'm all for legal immigration and think that we should make it as streamlined as possible. I am for welcoming almost anyone who'd walk thousands of difficult miles, swim across rivers and find a way through concertina wire to have a shot at the American dream. Most of these folks are not afraid to work. They don't want handouts, they want opportunity. They share my values. I say welcome to America and let's get you going.
I propose a swap: how about we let these folks in and make room for them by sending swaths of San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and New York City to the hell holes they came from. Then the left can see for themselves the dystopian future at the other end of their own policies. I'd take that trade in a second.
But not all of the folks illegally crossing our borders need to be here. We need to screen for the opportunists and criminals among them. We also need to balance our system so that it does not favor those willing to break our current laws over those from around the world who are legally waiting in line. I'm not optimistic that this will happen anytime in the next two years. Illegal immigration will continue along with the flow of dangerous drugs across our borders.
Another high point of '22 was the recent dissent, by Justice Neil Gorsuch and all of the liberals on the Supreme Court, of the decision to maintain Title 42, the Trump era policy which has been a barrier to some illegal immigration, for the foreseeable future.
The liberal judges mostly voted for political reasons. But in a dissenting opinion, written with Justice Jackson, Gorsuch stood on principle and blasted the majority. Gorsuch, rightly in my opinion, maintains that the Supreme Court exists to call balls and strikes, not to correct dysfunction in the Executive and Legislative branches. Justice Gorsuch is one of the few unambiguously good legacies of Donald Trump.
China continues to be a growing and evolving menace. One would hope that their disastrous Covid policies (even worse than our own) and a front-row seat to watch Russians get an ass-whipping for their aggression in Ukraine would wise the CCP up. I doubt that their arrogance is allowing them to see any of this with the right kind of eyes. There will be more trouble from the CCP in the coming years.
Lastly, I watched in sadness this year as the part of Florida I grew up in got wiped away by Hurricane Ian - just months after we visited. The last few parts of the Florida of my elementary school years the 1960s that had not been built over are now gone.
It's a gut check to watch the pieces of your life disappear. I suspect that the disadvantage of living forever would be that gulfs of time and distance would eventually separate you from all of the things that made you. No thanks. I'll take my chances with the way things play out now.
Twenty twenty two also marks my third decade in Idaho. I spent a little over six years in Florida, a little over twenty nine in Kentucky and now thirty in Idaho. Best move I ever made. I'll be perfectly content to rest here in my permanent home at the bottom of the hill when my time comes.
Happy New Year. See you on the other side of of the first.
Associated Press and Idaho Press Club-winning columnist Martin Hackworth of Pocatello is a physicist, writer and retired Idaho State University faculty member who now spends his time with family, riding bicycles and motorcycles, arranging and playing music. His writing on Substack, “Howlin' at the Moon in ii-V-I” may be found at martinhackworth.substack.com. Follow him on Twitter @MartinHackworth
Well written Martin and pretty well spot on..