It’s that time of year when magazines (remember those?) and newspapers (ahem) divulge their Top 10 lists for the year and reveal their fearless predictions for 2020. Maybe these ’20s will roar like the last one, only not crash and burn near the end, one hopes.
And, drum roll please, the Canadian Press story of the year is climate change. That’s almost too easy. As it can include carbon tax, extreme weather, pipelines, oil sands, plastic straws, fossil fuels, five-cent plastic shopping bags at Walmart, protests, Armageddon anxiety, guilt, electric vehicles and much, much more, including 16-year-old Swedish sensation Greta Thunberg, who also happens to be Time magazine’s Person of the Year.
Now, nobody would have predicted Greta at this time last year. And the old man who was impeached too late in the year to grab the magazine honour wasn’t too happy about losing to a Nordic teenager. At least he took it well, ha.
But I think Donald Trump can take some solace in the fact, that due to a later publishing schedule, I can proclaim him Mitchell’s Musings Man of the Year, small hands down.
Greta, you did good, and I’m sure you’ll continue to inspire others to do their part to save the world through your amazing advocacy but the Donald not only managed to be only the third president in history to be impeached, he also perfectly personified what I think is the real story of the year – cheating.
Now, we know Trump cheated on his wife (likely wives), likely cheated on his taxes (if we ever see them), cheated on Trump University and paid US$25 million to settle three lawsuits, cheated on his Trump Foundation and had to pay a US$2-million fine, likely cheated to get out of going to Vietnam and, according to the Mueller Report, he may have not colluded with the Russians to win in 2016, but he welcomed their interference and took several steps that could have been pursued by congress as obstruction of justice.
That’s legalese for he cheated then too, but the Democrats didn’t have the gonads to go after him and the Republicans are continually reading from the same spineless, see-no-evil-hear-no-evil-speak-no-evil playbook that they displayed in the impeachment hearings.
But of course Trump cheated again, it may be a character thing, by blackmailing Ukraine for help to get dirt on rival Joe Biden. This time people were listening and one snitch (er, whistleblower) finally did the right thing and it led to Trump’s eventual impeachment.
Of course, like all the other times he cheated, Trump will likely get away with it. The GOP-dominated Senate, unless they get consciences for Christmas, will likely reject the evidence, pretend that Trump’s inner circle being prevented from testifying doesn’t imply anything, and proclaim it’s time for the witch hunt to end so Trump can govern again (which seems to mean watch Fox TV, tweet a ton and host political rallies).
And it’s not like it’s just Trump, although he’s the bestest at it, by far.
What about the countrywide university entrance exams scandal where parents paid astronomical amounts of money to get their kids into prestigious schools? Fifty-three people are facing charges of bribery, fraud and money laundering to name a few, and somehow I think this may be the tip of the iceberg on campus cheating.
So politics, higher education, what about sports?
Yup, the twice-before caught New England Patriots were caught filming the Cincinnati Bengals sideline for some reason, but it’s against the rules, and the Houston Astros may have won the World Series in 2017 thanks to a video camera in centre field helping relay signs to batters on which pitch was coming their way. That’s illegal too. Yikes.
Both cheating claims are under investigation so we’ll see if they, unlike Trump, will be held accountable.
Back in 1513, Machiavelli argued the ends justify the means. Obviously Trump, Lori Loughlin, the Pats and the ‘Stros believe what works 500 years ago still works today. And they’re right, apparently winning IS everything.
I’m hoping the new year brings some kind of justice for all this cheating, but then again a calendar change can only accomplish so much.
Glenn Mitchell is the former editor of The Morning Star. Fan mail can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.