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Top 10 new year’s predictions for a pivotal 2006

by Linda Ketner
If 2006 is a repeat of 2005, I predict we’ll skim this year. Skim issues, religion, news, politics, emails and each other. And if that’s the case, here are my top 10 prognostications:

• The year 2006 sees a further erosion of the American Constitution and Bill of Rights. The National Security Agency continues to eavesdrop on bad Americans like Quakers, environmentalists, animal rights activists and us! And although we discover that everything from medical and financial records to internet viewing habits is available to the federal government, it will be too late to do anything about it. We begin to wonder if car and cell phone tracking devices really are for our benefit.

• Even more journalists are replaced by pretty-faced readers and shock-jocks. All media is even better customized to reinforce only what we already believe.

• Impeachment proceedings for Dick Cheney and George Bush are initiated but abruptly end in a bi-partisan realization that J. Dennis Hastert would be next in line for president (J. Dennis who?!) and Ted Stevens (of the Bridge-To-Nowhere and “my saddest day was the defeat of ANWAR”) would be vice president — that is if he survived his own indictment.

• Katrina victims are still mired in detritus while Americans presume that government and church groups already took care of that problem. It dawns on very few to simply get in the car, drive down there, roll up their sleeves and make a difference. The media continues to behave as if New Orleans is the only story.
• Hundreds of thousands of Pakistani and Indian earthquake victims freeze to death over the winter. Most Americans capable of donating the cost of a $250 winterized tent spend that much on an evening out without knowing that they could have saved lives.

• The Rapture comes and every homophobic Christian/Jewish and Muslim conservative, plus Pope Benedict XVI, will be “left behind” with Tim LaHaye. They, James Dobson, Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell and Fred Phelps spend the afternoon calling each other to see who doesn’t answer. Rev. Mel White is gone but they don’t call him anyway.

• LGBT Americans stall out on forward movement toward equal rights. Why? We fell victim to complacency and were too busy with other things to focus on our rights. Fear, greed and “too busy” are the favored methodologies for those interested in controlling Americans in 2006. The formula keeps us from looking deeply into anything.

• Fear: all of the following (and more) are trotted out to keep us spiritually and politically anxious and numb in 2006: worldwide pandemic, biological terrorism, Muslim fundamentalists, economic collapse, war, Iraq, Iran, Syria, North Korea, and China — just to name a few!

• Greed: that smooth piece of work, “getting the middle class to pay more taxes than anyone else,” will continue in 2006; and they will continue to be too busy — and too caught up in homophobia — to realize it.

• Too busy: Fear and Greed are held together by the glue of Too Busy in numbing us to the erosion of our freedom. There’s too much information, and too little consciousness in choosing how we spend our time.

If any of the above is ringing true, what’s the alternative? Well, an older friend told me shortly before her death, “Choices, Linda. That’s all life is about. Just choices. Our lives turn out to be merely reflections of our choices.”

Our lives, and the life of our country and the life of our LGBT community are merely reflections of our choices. I believed her then. I believe her even more now.
Consider taking a half hour now, at the beginning of the year, to look around and define what is important in your life — your whole life — including your life as a citizen of the world, this country and our community. Make conscious choices about your time and your focus this year.

2005 really does seem to be the last year we can hit the snooze button without staggering consequences.

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