2023 in Review: The Unfathomables

By The Stream Published on January 2, 2024

2023 is in the history books. We wanted to take a look back at some of the year’s highs and lows, with a three-part series we are calling “Favorites, Forgottens and Unfathomables.” With “Favorites” our assorted Stream writers will share their favorite story or stories of the year. With “Forgottens,” each will name the story or stories we think have not gotten nearly the attention they deserve. And then there are the “Unfathomables.” These are the stories that are nearly impossible to believe actually happened. “Wait. That’s not the Babylon Bee? Or the plot of a dystopian horror movie?”

First up, the Unfathomables.

Al Perrotta

Originally, I was going to select as my unfathomable the complete media lack of interest in finding out which politicians and military leaders were clients of a high-end brothel that was busted in Massachusetts and just outside Washington, DC. That should be juicier than a grove of oranges.

However, the unilateral decision of Maine’s Secretary of State to simply erase former President and leading GOP contender Donald Trump from the ballot pushes the “Insurrection! Insurrection! Insurrection” ploy to undermine the 2024 election to victory.

Two elements of the “14th Amendment” plot I find unfathomable. First, that there isn’t wall-to-wall outrage from every single politician who took an oath to uphold the Constitution, and every single American who believes in democracy.

But there’s another element to the story that doesn’t get talked about much. The sheer, utter stupidity of the whole “insurrection” narrative.

The whole thing is based on the idea that Donald Trump inspired and called for an insurrection against the United States. At the same time, the same people pushing this narrative keep saying those “deplorable” MAGA voters/cultists will do anything Orange Man says. So Donald Trump encouraged an insurrection on January 6 … They understood his code, that even though he called for “peaceful and patriotic protests” DONALD TRUMP REALLY WANTED HIS SUPPORTERS TO OVERTHROW THE GOVERNMENT! And of 75 million slavish MAGA voters how many answered the call? A handful? Out of 75 million. And how many showed up for this Trump insurrection armed? Zero.

Furthermore, this insurrection leader was trying to overthrow the government he was leading. And despite being commander-in-chief he did not order any military action to help with this insurrection. In fact, his only military act was to suggest tens of thousands of National Guard troops be deployed to PREVENT his insurrection.

It is unfathomable that anyone with an IQ over 50 buys this. I guess you only need a degree from a liberal college.

Tom Sileo

Mick Jagger turned 80 years old on July 26, 2023. A few months later, The Rolling Stones released one of the year’s best albums and — just before Keith Richards also celebrated his 80th birthday — announced a new tour in support of their hit Hackney Diamonds record.

On Richards’ birthday, 60 Minutes posted a clip from a 1994 interview where Richards and the recently departed Charlie Watts discussed the challenges of being rock stars at age 50. I seriously doubt anyone in the band thought that in 2023, the Stones would be releasing a new album and preparing to embark on another tour.

It is truly unfathomable to see 80-year-olds still churning out quality music and electrifying millions of fans during sold out live performances. To the Rolling Stones, which had already been performing together for 15 years when I was born, I say cheers to 2024 and beyond!

John Zmirak

I cannot fathom the bottomless gullibility, apathy and worldliness of those in the Christian world who still take Francis Collins seriously as a Christian influencer. Not only does he crusade against Intelligent Design on behalf of hardcore Darwinists, insisting that any evidence at all of a Divine purpose in nature must be dismissed as “unscientific.” That’s plenty bad, since Darwinist materialism (which is falling apart, as Stephen Meyer demonstrates) is the single biggest factor undermining both faith and reason in the West. Why even ask if some sexual variation violates the Divine Plan if you’re dogmatically committed to the claim that there is no Plan?

But Collins is more than a prophet of blind chance as the origin of human life and the universe. He is also a secret policeman on behalf of the Big Pharma/Deep State Industrial Complex. Megan Basham documented how Collins used cash, backroom pressure, and other sleazy means to strongarm evangelical leaders into pushing the Dead Baby Vaccine on the Christians who trusted them. (This as the NIH which he led energetically pressed abortion providers for more and more unborn babies to subject to experiment.)

Now Collins is trying to dodge the long-delayed blowback from Americans injured by that vaccine, pretending that he’s just a modest public servant. And Basham isn’t having it.

Of course, as a Catholic with a persecutor pope like Francis, I probably shouldn’t be throwing stones at anybody. Except maybe Francis.

Nancy Flory

Here’s an unfathomable story for you: Hospitals and medical care providers won’t treat patients with certain conditions because it skews their survival statistics and makes the providers look bad. Case in point: A mom in Michigan was pregnant with a baby diagnosed with Trisomy 18 — a condition where the child has an extra copy of the 18th chromosome in their body’s cells resulting in severe disability. According to WebMD, Trisomy 18 is the second most common type of trisomy syndrome after trisomy 21 (Down Syndrome). While many babies with this syndrome die during pregnancy, many do not, including the oldest-known patient who is in her early 40s.

The obstetrician for the Michigan woman assumed that the woman would abort her unborn baby, Detroit Free Press first reported. The doctor prepared consent papers that the woman would need to sign 24 hours prior to having an abortion. “I got your golden ticket,” the doctor told the woman. “This is my gift to you.” The mom-to-be did not want to abort her baby. She was 32 weeks pregnant when she realized that her medical team would not take steps to save her baby once she was born. “… I finally realized they’re not going to help me. They’re not going to keep this baby alive.”

A neonatologist at the hospital told the woman that keeping her baby alive would be a waste of the team’s time and resources, according to Detroit Free Press. He also told the woman that a third of the doctors on his team refused to perform a code on her baby, should she go into cardiac arrest or stop breathing. A pediatric heart surgeon confirmed to the woman that she would not perform surgery on the baby, if needed, because she did not want to risk her career and her center’s “impressive survival statistics” trying to save a baby who was “destined to die,” the Detroit Free Press reported. Thankfully, the mom found a doctor and hospital that would give her child a chance, but it just shows how parents must fight for their unborn babies when the medical field will not.

Tom Gilson

This year the U.S. Surgeon General released a major study on epidemic loneliness in America. The report mentioned marriage only briefly in passing, and the word “divorce” is nowhere to be found in it.

More recently news came out that the CDC has a data sheet on the crisis in youth mental health. It mentions parents or parenting exactly zero times, which is the same number you’ll find in a jointly issued alarm raised by major pediatric medical associations on youth mental health

It appears The State, with the support of many elites, has decided marriage, family, and parenting are all irrelevant. Being single obviously doesn’t mean a person is necessarily lonely, that’s not my point at all. But the state doesn’t seem to want us thinking marriage and divorce have any influence on having satisfying relationships, or that parents matter for children’s mental health.

That’s not just wrong, it’s obviously wrong. Obviously stupid, in fact. I have trouble thinking of any reason behind it, except to set the stage for direct legal assaults on the family, even beyond what we’ve seen so far.

How realistic is that, you ask? Try this for a year-end topper. A Maryland court has ruled that parents have no say in what their kids must be taught in public schools.

The State is out to first make family officially irrelevant, and then to dismantle it. That’s unfathomable to me.

Aliya Kuykendall

My unfathomable is a sunny one. It’s hard to believe that what started as a small group of students feeling led to stay late after chapel at Asbury University on Feb. 8 reportedly turned into, as the university reports, a multi-week gathering that brought students from hundreds of other schools, news media, and people from around the world. Looking back all these months later, what can we say about the impact of what was often called the 2023 Asbury Revival?

I had hoped to see something concrete come about as a result: a decisive spread. We’ve seen more stories of students being baptized en masse and seeking God together, but to my knowledge nothing has yet hit us in the face with obvious evidence that an entire generation has been fundamentally changed. I reported back then on Christian pastor Dutch Sheets reportedly having an open vision years ago of revival sweeping the nation, starting at our colleges and universities. When he saw what was happening at Asbury, he said, “I think it is the beginning” and “Well, it is what I was talking about.” But has it fizzled out? Or is there more to come? I certainly hope we will see a resurgence of young hearts fully devoted to God and spreading that devotion across the nation.

The word unfathomable means, according to Oxford Languages, “1. incapable of being fully explored or understood,” or “2. (of water or a natural feature) impossible to measure the extent of.” I believe what happened at Asbury was beautiful and good, but it’s hard at this point to fully measure the extent of its impact or to understand what could come of it in the future.


So what is your choice for “Unfathomable” story of the year? Let us know at [email protected].

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