While progress was made during the last 12 months, we have definitely endured several seasons of contradictions in American politics.
The Supreme Court delivered a huge victory for equality, and it also continued its trajectory of becoming an unofficial arm of the Chamber of Commerce. The Roberts Court’s decision to gut the Voting Rights Act will be remembered as one of the most singularly ill-conceived, regressive findings in the Court’s recent history, given the right’s lunge to implement laws designed to suppress the vote in states with large African-American populations.
Congress hardly did anything beyond keeping the government’s lights on. And they barely even did that during the 16-day shutdown in October.
The president saw hopes of comprehensive immigration reform and gun safety legislation replaced with having to react to a series of outrages that have practically drowned out any notice that we’ve enjoyed the best year of job growth in nearly a decade.
Some outrages — Benghazi and the IRS’ targeting of political groups — were completely hyped up or manufactured by the right. Others — NSA surveillance and the failed launch of HealthCare.gov — suggested that the White House was so caught up in fending off right-wing criticism and unprecedented sabotage that it had failed to respect the pledges of open, competent liberal governance that ran throughout President Obama’s campaign rhetoric.
Despite all this, there were definitely events worth celebrating in 2013 that should give us hope for 2014.
Photo: Anthony Quintano via Flickr