The Good, the Bad, and the Unlikely
My favorite 70s band warned “don’t look back.” But the urge to do so, at the end of every calendar year, is well-nigh irresistible. Herewith, then, my tally of winners and losers from 2022.
- Vladimir Putin. Yes, Russia’s President won big this year. He ordered the invasion of a neighboring country, and despite Western decrees of “regime change” remains firmly in power in Moscow. Russia is also making record energy profits, and is now China’s biggest supplier of oil. Our latest “Hitler” is laughing all the way to the bank.
- Xi Jinping. His country almost certainly created a virus that has killed 6.6 million globally and over 1 million Americans. Yet he was just “elected” to a third term as head of the Chinese Communist Party (the first time since Mao himself). He imprisons journalists and locks protestors, er, those with Covid in their apartments. But the PRC military is growing, and China isn’t running out of energy.
- Volodymyr Zelensky. He dresses like a homeless veteran, yet keeps raking in the American dough and weaponry. He’s the only man that can unite Joe Biden and Mitch McConnell.
- Tom Cruise. Top Gun: Maverick was this planet’s highest-grossing film of 2022. It might have been a risky business proposition, but Cruise proved it wasn’t mission impossible. That film didn’t just have all the right moves. It proved to be a legend.
- Dusty Baker. He’s been coaching major league baseball since Joe Jackson had shoes. And he finally won a World Series, albeit with American’s least favorite team: the Houston Astros. Still, if your toothpicks are headed to Cooperstown, you’re a clear winner.
- The Bidens. Dad is in the throes of dementia, and the surviving son is a moral reprobate — at least according to his own laptop. They make Abe and Homer Simpson look like geniuses. Yet they run the most powerful country on Earth. Well, actually, maybe Jill/Marge does.
- Drag Queens. They may not be everywhere, but there are certainly a lot of them being allowed to read to kids at libraries. Some churches even showcase them. And almost half of Democrats approve of such. However you dress it up, that’s a win. Corporal Klinger, eat your heart out.
- Ron DeSantis. The former Navy JAG Iraq War veteran massively won reelection as governor of Florida. Taking on “woke” Disney was a major reason, as well as resisting the Covid shutdown orthodoxy. Most recently, investigating Draq Queen shows for stepping beyond the bounds with kids. President DeSantis, anyone?
- Senate Republicans. Despite getting over 3 million more votes nationally than the Democrats, and winning the House, the GOP couldn’t win the Senate. Some blame Trump for inserting Herschel Walker and Dr. Mehmet Oz into the picture. But while the former was inept (yes, I live in Georgia), the latter was solid. I’d rather blame Mitch McConnell and his lack of message.
- The FBI. It spied on Americans, pressured and paid Twitter to censor conservatives, and ignored attacks on pro-life churches. No one trusts anything the FBI does anymore. It’s become the Stasi. I’m not sure the Bureau can ever regain its lost reputation. Tear it down and start over.
- Twitter. The media platform was a willing participant in government corruption. Not just silencing conservatives, but throwing the 2020 election. New owner Elon Musk may not be Thomas Jefferson, but at least he’s not Joe Stalin.
- Amazon Prime/Rings of Power. What a travesty. It doesn’t even qualify as fan-fiction, since the writers don’t appear to be Tolkien fans. They simply took the names of some of his characters and made up stories about them. Mostly woke ones. Read my review of the first four episodes. It was just downhill from there. I was rooting for Sauron by the end of season one.
- Covid vaccines. Remember the claims, by Biden and others, that “if you get vaxxed, you won’t get Covid?” Uh huh. Not only are the majority of deaths from the China virus now among the vaccinated. A new study indicates that the risk of contracting the disease is greater among those who got shots. (I’ve had Covid thrice, sans any immunizations. Once as tragedy, once as farce, and once I didn’t even notice.)
- The US Constitution. Our government spies on us, and went after its own former Commander-in-Chief. Offenses far worse than those that got Trump impeached are ignored by Congress. (And this has been known for years—not just in 2022.) It’s not crazy to ask whether the Constitution is even in effect
Picking winners and losers is easy. Predicting the future, however, is hard. Many have tried to do so. Cassandra. Nostradamus. Edgar Cayce. Some actually did so, successfully. Biblical prophets don’t really count, since they had divine help. I don’t claim that. But I do have a seasonal beard. That qualifies me to take a stab at prognostication for the coming year.
- The Russia-Ukraine war will end with the former annexing the far southeastern provinces: Kherson, Zaporizhia, Donetsk, Luhansk. And without Putin nuking anyone.
- Biden’s teleprompter will tell him to announce that he is not running for a second term. This will set off a cage match between Gavin Newsome, Kamala Harris and, yes, Hillary Clinton.
- Indiana Jones V will actually be good and redeem Indy’s allure tarnished by Crystal Skull. Mainly because of John Rhys-Davies and Antonio Banderas.
- The Cincinnati Bengals will win the Super Bowl over the Philadelphia Eagles.
- Robert Cardinal Sarah will be elected Pope after Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI dies and the current Bishop of Rome, Francis, resigns. Yes, I am putting more faith in the Holy Spirit than in Vatican politicking here.
- The Islamic Republic of Iran will not only weather the current anti-regime protests, but will announce it has built at least one nuclear weapon for the Mahdi.
- Kickboxer and “media influencer” Andrew Tate, convert to Islam, will marry multiple women in order to show he’s as much a “true Muslim” as those fine chaps in ISIS and the Taliban.
There you have it! Check back with me late December 2023 to see how these held up.
Happy New Year!
Timothy Furnish holds a Ph.D. in Islamic, World and African history from Ohio State University and a M.A. in Theology from Concordia Seminary. He is a former U.S. Army Arabic linguist and, later, civilian consultant to U.S. Special Operations Command. He’s the author of books on the Middle East and Middle-earth, a history professor and sometime media opiner (as, for example, on Fox News Channel’s War Stories: Fighting ISIS). He currently writes for and consults The Stream on International Security matters.