THE BLOG
12/31/2012 07:13 pm ET Updated Mar 02, 2013

5 New Year's Predictions From an Optimist

1. The NRA will realize it is only half right.

Guns don't kill people -- men kill people. None of these massacres have been done by women. Understand why that is and maybe not all guns will need to be banned to ensure the safety of a nation. But until male violence is understood and treated, only women, and preferably mothers, should decide policy on gun issues, including deciding which men are allowed to have guns for hunting.

2. Republicans will stop demeaning government.

Republicans have been putting down government for decades now. 2013 is when people will finally say, "Hey, if you're so against government, fuck off and go home. The rest of us would like to see democracy at work, the strong and the weak each with only one finger on the button to make a better society for all Americans."

By the end of 2013, intelligent young people will start planning to go to Washington to kick out the last remaining grey cynics in their grey suits and get to work in the most important, most civilized, most exciting endeavor known to humanity, the attempt to "establish justice, insure domestic tranquility" -- there goes the NRA -- "provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity..."

3. Blind reverence for the Constitution will diminish.

The Constitution was created to be changed. It is not holy writ. Some parts of it are obscure and poorly phrased, other parts just suck and should give way to imaginative reform.

4. Religious homophobes will become embarrassed by the words "traditional marriage" and stop getting in the way of inevitable civil rights.

There are many definitions of marriage in the bible, but one of the earliest can be found in Deuteronomy Chapter 21, verses 11-13:

If you are victorious in war, "and seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and has a desire unto her, that thou wouldst have her to thy wife, then shalt thou bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails and she shall put the raiments of captivity off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband and she shall be thy wife."

A Hallmark moment if ever I saw one, but despite the fetishistic allure of bald women prisoners with short nails, this just isn't, well... I was going to say "kosher," but maybe "legal" would be safer. In modern parlance, this is what we call kidnapping, false imprisonment, and rape. In some states you could face the death penalty, though sadly, not by traditional means, stoning to death, which is illegal in America. (Goddamn liberals!) Of course traditional marriage was also polygamous and would, by modern legal standards, be defined as slavery.

Okay, so there will be a few fundamentalists who just won't let go of such delightful concepts of matrimony, but I'm convinced that 99.9 percent of all other believers in America will have an epiphany and suddenly fast forward through 20-plus centuries and catch up with the rest of us in welcoming a widening definition of love and security.

5. Republicans will refute "trickle down" economics, push for higher taxes for the rich, and join a bipartisan war on poverty.

I am certain of this one. A "have you no shame?" moment is on the way. If you, a Republican politician, want to avoid being the target of this moment, if you want to get ahead of this, then contact me in New York and accompany me on a visit to some of the homeless shelters here. Thousands of men, women and children huddled in iron cots all over the city. Rows and rows of human beings lying in hunger, bedbugs, abject despair. When I was first taken to see them by an underpaid angel who visits these numerous hells on a regular basis, I turned to him at the end of the night and said in literal shock, "Is this really the best we can do?" I could not believe it. I could not believe it -- by which I mean it was unbearable to believe it: this America that I've loved since I was a child, allowing this extraordinary neglect? What possible amount of money could be worth this amount of suffering in so rich a country?

I know several Republicans and many rich people. If you could miniaturize the situation, none of them would tolerate this. Their mentally ill child out on the street? Their husband or wife utterly shut out from opportunity, plunged into paralyzing despair? Their housekeeper going hungry or cold? For even an acquaintance to be abandoned to poverty like this, swept away into warehouses, way-stations of no hope on a lifelong wasted journey to nowhere? Not one of them would allow this if it was someone they knew. And yet, institutionally, we do, either out of ignorance or in obeisance to economic theories that were absurd when proposed, are doubly so after so many years of testing, and which coldly ignore national spirit. It would be better, less humiliating, if people were simply told, "We're greedy and we want more and more and more -- and we just don't care about you," than to pretend that your greed is our solution, and by making that claim enable yourselves to feel good about this rabid defense of tragic and destructive inequality.

Raising taxes on the rich is not about mathematics. No one pretends it's a numerical panacea, though it will help. It's far more than that. It's about morale. It's character, the character of America. Yes, the rich give to charity -- a patronizing and inefficient fix if it's any fix at all -- but what about us, the concept of unity, of sharing both good and bad, of being in the same boat, of being involved in a democratic process that empowers us all, that unites us all? If those who can afford to help -- who should want to help as a matter of patriotism, who can help without suffering themselves in any way -- turn their backs, are allowed to turn their backs, are encouraged to turn their backs on those who need help; if our best and brightest people clench their fists and disdain not just the less fortunate but the very idea that America was founded on -- democracy -- then what is left? This is so obvious to anyone with a brain and a heart that it must very soon become apparent even to those who currently defend the status quo.

Happy New Year. I'm sure of it...

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