A small forecast. Appeared in Speakeasy Blog, The Wall Street Journal Online, January 1, 2010
2010: a prediction. We won’t cure cancer or AIDS or poverty. We won’t win the war on drugs. On terror. On adult illiteracy. On unemployment. We won’t win. But you know some of us, goddamnit, are going to try. We won’t stop drinking cheap beer or passing the buck. We won’t master the necessary powers of compassion. We won’t stop tweeting or reading our text messages when we should be listening to self, to others. When someone describes a racist / sexist / homophobic incident we won’t be able to resist saying You’re exaggerating or That never happened to me. The necessary powers of empathy will elude us. Our education system will still suck. And if you’re from a poor part of our country it will suck even more. And yet many of our teachers and students and librarians will keep trying. Thank God. We’ll still believe in angels more than in Darwin. Angels will not give a press conference but a Darwinist might. We won’t go extinct (and if we do who’ll read this anyway?) But we will push plenty of things into extinction. We won’t stop devouring the planet. We won’t stop devouring ourselves. We won’t stop. The next stage of human evolution will not appear. There will be no X-men. No one will discover life on another planet. If Superman crashes in Kansas (72 years late) I get a feeling he’ll use his supermind to build another space-creche so he can find another home. I won’t blame him. We’re not a country that is kind to immigrants, though we are all beneficiaries of their sacrifices. We won’t save enough. We won’t read enough. We won’t do enough community work. We won’t dance enough. We’ll send more of our kids to war. We’ve already sent two of my nephews. We’ll send more. We’ll vote for idiots. We’ll vote for fear. We’ll vote for divisiveness. Occasionally we’ll vote for change. But the truth is most of us won’t vote. We will fall in love. We will fall out of love. If we’re lucky we will be find the courage to risk love again. The year will end. We will make more predictions. Most won’t come true. But it won’t matter. We will hope we will hope we will hope. We might at its end think it lousy year because Superman has not come because cancer has not been defeated because we have not risen above our baser selves but we should never forget it will be the only 2010 we will ever have. We should cherish it. We should honor. Despite all its failings we should honor it. Because one day in the future we will miss it. That’s all. Good night.