Some random thoughts:
At the risk of invoking the Spectre of Mawkishness, I found myself actively searching for Christmas music on Pandora…on 12/29. Usually, I am done with Yuletide-related songs at precisely the same time that local radio stations flip back to their non-Holiday programming. Perhaps the season went by so quickly, I did not reach my quota of tunes like “Home for the Holidays” (as performed by the incomparable Perry Como).
Jesus, am I turning into my grandfather? What in tarnation…
I will offer up one unambiguous Winner for 2018: Allan Kittleman. The statewide Republican “bench” in Maryland is closer in size to a standard-issue barstool, and now he can run for Governor without the worries that come with being County Executive. When did Kittleman’s 2022 campaign launch? When he delivered his in-person concession at Kahler Hall on Election Night.
What else is looking up for 2019? Democratic socialism in the West. With the rise of publications such as Jacobin in the USA and the timely re-launch of the Tribune in the UK, the Left is experiencing an intellectual Risorgimento (note: nationalist term appropriated on purpose) that is taking a fresh look at how best to create a fairer society. A new generation of leaders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib being two of the best known among them, is emerging and sharing their vision of economic democracy and a government that is, of, and for “the many, not the few.” With over 55,000 members (and growing) the DSA has become a political force in a way it hasn’t been since, well, it was DSOC. And this membership only represents a fraction of those who find themselves in vigorous agreement with some of the major policy initiatives pursued by the broad Left such as a Green New Deal and Medicare for All.
2020 Democratic presidential candidates, and not just Senator Sanders, need to bear in mind the energy on the Left. 2020 is not just an opportunity to defeat Trump (which is an absolute must); it also provides a means to change the conditions that helped produce a Trump in the first place.
I am starting a new gig in January. While I was able to publish a record 119 articles this year, including this one, I will likely be scaling back to something closer to once-a-week in 2019. With an emphasis on international and national politics, with infused musings on popular culture or whatever esoteric interests capture my attention, it will be a different Spartan Considerations. Maybe it will be entirely book reviews by June…or perhaps Slats will take over writing duties for weeks at a time. Who knows? It's all a mystery...
Have a happy and safe New Year.
Always in solidarity.