Everyone likes to write summaries for the past year, but given the way 2006 went I've decided to talk about some of the things that didn't happen.
- No direct terrorist attacks against the US. This was probably part luck, part good planning, and part lots of people doing their part to keep the country safe. The number of people who'd like to inflict mortal damage against America certainly hasn't decreased, but we've still been able to keep terror at bay for another year.
- No stability in Iraq. When we invaded Iraq in 2003 my Great Aunt, who'd had a long career in the federal government, told me that she was worried because the US had so few people who understood the area. That turned out to truer than she would ever have wished. We need to get that area to stabilize in some form, and from where we are its hard to understand how that can be done without great expense in form of people's time and lives. I'm of the camp that says this is a battle in the larger war on terror, and if we walk away, terror takes another step closer to us. I wish I had a good idea of what to do, but I'm not alone in being stumped.
- No federal legislative action on the environment. I'm not surprised. Any form of environmental legislation ends up taking the form of a tax against someone, private or corporate. Very few of the 2006 candidates even ran on a strong environmental ticket. My guess is there's too much campaign money at stake to take that step right now. It's a sad state of affairs, but I'd like to see someone prove me wrong.
Finally, my prediction for 2007 on the third item above (I wouldn't hazard a guess on the other two): I believe that, with the 2008 campaign shaping up through 2007, almost no one is going to take a strong stand on the environmental front until it is proven safe to do so. The people who will be doing the testing will most likely be Al Gore and the legislators from California. In the meantime I think we'll hear lots of rhetoric, but no one stepping up trying to pass a law that will cause any real change.