Friends and Family
Many of us have seen friendships and even family relations fracture due to political differences. As David French pointed out in a recent commentary, we have very little influence on what happens in national politics. Our one vote or even active outreach for one side or the other rarely makes a difference. On the other hand, we can make a huge and positive difference in our families and circles of friends.
Sure, I write from time to time about politics and consider public affairs in a democracy important, but from decades of experience I am convinced we should value relationships much more than debating points.
Contrarians of the Year
My nature is to ask why so many are moving in the same direction. Is it truth or credulity that is the propellant? Characteristic then are my year end salutes.
On the Republican side are Representatives Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger. Both turned away from tribal insistence and former President Trump’s persistent disparagement and are probing for truth in the investigation of the January 6th assault on the Capitol.
On the Democrat side are Senators Joe Manchin and Krysten Sinema. Both turned away from costly entitlements buried in omnibus legislation. Withstanding immense pressure, they saved the nation trillions of dollars of new entitlements fiscally sold as time-limited expenditures. Would that President Biden would have shared their insight.
Questions for 2022
I have been and remain dubious about Donald Trump winning his Party’s 2024 nomination. Perhaps it is my contrarian nature serving up a false premise. But I persist. 2022 will not be a good year for the former President. The big reveal will persist with decline in those who would be willing to vote for him to again occupy the Oval Office. It is possible that Republicans will renominate somebody who cannot win, but I doubt it.
And, to that same point, Democrats will begin to look beyond President Biden and Vice-President Harris to find its nominee. Neither, for different reasons, will have the necessary pulling power projected to November of 2024.
The importance of 2022 is that the midterms offer up a fresh lens and often spotlight the persuasive power of emerging political leaders.
Best bet, however: being a hotelier in Iowa or New Hampshire where the presidential nominating process will begin.
2022 will not be framed by Covid but by Hybrid. We will learn to live with whatever mutation. Covid has had an enormous influence over how we live and some level of angst will persist. Or let me put it another way. Stung by Covid and now inflation, efficiency in how we live will enjoy a star turn.
I also believe step-back analyses of the nation’s response to Covid will show that we burdened too many and failed to target effectively those who were especially vulnerable. And I hope that the spotlight on public health and its leadership will attract a new and improved generation of public health leadership.
2022 will feature another public health spotlight. We will increasingly learn about our role in the new media business model—the near complete loss of our privacy. Increasingly stories are focusing on not just the loss of privacy, but how our individual profiles are being exploited.
Humanity has weak spots. We are all vulnerable to spending or borrowing too much and the business model at its foundation is aimed at just that. Temptation has always been an important element in advertising. Every sense from smell to taste to hormonal urges and much more are the stimulants. But the advertising in the past has been aimed at demographics, not persons. Now we and often our weaknesses are the target! We will push back more aggressively in 2022.
Pursued at 74
Chris Wallace just signed what I suspect is a lucrative contract with CNN at age 74. So, what is it about Wallace?
I would suggest the offer was for sustained integrity. Integrity that demanded hard to answer questions. Questions that often-revealed deception and/or hypocrisy.
Chris Wallace occupied an office at one of the biased cable networks (Fox in his case) without harming his reputation. Both Biden and Trump accepted him as the moderator of one of the presidential debates. Wallace took on viewpoint journalism and won.
Al Sikes is the former Chair of the Federal Communications Commission under George H.W. Bush. Al writes on themes from his book, Culture Leads Leaders Follow published by Koehler Books.