2013 is coming to an end, and as always, there are stories and events that are very pleasant, and also those which are very disturbing.
The most pleasant stories of the year include in no particular order the following:
The Rise of Pope Francis, invigorating and reforming the Catholic Church, with his message of inclusion, compassion for the poor, and condemnation of unbridled capitalism.
The victory of Bill DeBlasio as Mayor of New York City, promoting a change in policy in a city which has catered to the wealthy, and ignored the poor and middle class.
The doubling of states which permit same sex marriage from nine to eighteen, and the growing acceptance of the American people to tolerance on the topic.
Senate filibuster reform on Presidential appointments, which allows the President to gain the people he wants for executive and judicial appointments, a right of any President, but prevented by Senate Republican intransigence.
The most disturbing stories of the year include in no particular order the following:
The Congressional deadlock caused by the Tea Party Movement in the Republican Party, including the government shutdown and dearth of Congressional activity.
The growing inequality and deprivation of the middle class and the poor, caused by a massive redistribution of wealth by tax policy over the years from Reagan to Bush II.
The Supreme Court backtracking on the Voting Rights Act guarantees after a half century, and the damage that continues to be done due to the Citizens United Case.
The rise of mean spirited, aggressive leaders including Senator Ted Cruz of Texas and Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, both Tea Party favorites who work against compromise in any form.