The year 2013 ended much as it began, with President Obama's clawing enemies digging in to nulllify his second term, Tea Party and Bible-waving politicians stomping on the poor - and the Cleveland Browns laboring for a new coach du jour .
Any thought that the loonies had exhausted their absurdities in the earlier campaign to defeat Obama at the polls has been painfully countered by the same absurdities throughout the year. Having foolishly held out hope that American politics would find its way to grasp a common search for progress was demolished by the same ideological intrusions that led to a government shutdown.
And any thought that Rep. Louie Gohmert, once an unchallenged court jester, would remain the whackiest guy on Capitol Hill, also frayed as other rubes rose to stand shoulder to shoulder with him at the rear of the class.
There was the let-'em-eat-stale biscuits group that scorned unemployment insurance and food stamps as impure entitlements that are shunned in the New Testament. Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee elbowed into his Book of Thessalonians to Biblically "reveal" that if you want food to stave off starvation, it must be earned.
Along came Rep. Jack Kingston , a Georgia Republican, who wants hungry kids to scrub floors or pay a dime before they are handed food in order to teach them that (with the exception of lobbyist-chaperoned congressmen to the table ) there are no free lunches.
Unsurprisingly these Capitol Hill faux missionaries didn't read the part in their Bibles about Jesus providing fishes and loaves to up to 5,000 people.
In the face-off between military and social needs, the popular term to divide them was once known as "guns and butter" in the face-off today between social needs and privately owned weapons. Butter is seldom mentioned by the gun lobby. So it's guns or bigger guns today. And will remain that way throughout 2014.
2013 also was the year of S-E-X, medieval, explicitly spoken, peek-a-boo or officially curious about female genitals. For some of the fogies who attacked abortions in TV commercials, it was a way of satisfying their own moribund appetites like the school kids in my old neighborhood who giggled at the naughty pictures in big-little books. In Columbus, the down-state Republican hoofbeaters pressed for a "heartbeat" bill in their crusade against abortion.
Gays were lumped with ax murderers, abominably so. Rep. John Becker, a Clermont County Republican, continued to entertain his chorus by calling for the impeachment of a Federal judge who recognized gay marriage on a death certificate. And no amateur at recognizing political opportunity, Gov. Kasich closed the circle by appointing the head of Ohio Right to Life to the State Medical Board.
Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz continued to disturb the peace and there are no signs they will head back to their caves in 2014.
And who can ignore Donald Trump's continuing adventure in terra incognito? It would not surprise me to learn that he is spending most of his time in Kenya these days to dig up a 3,000- year- old human carcass with Obama's DNA.
The new year will weigh heavily upon us with the madness of mid-term elections. There's little hope that there will be improvement in air-quality standards. Sorry, there's no way you can ring out the old. (It's even possible that as I write this the Browns will have already hired and fired two coaches.)
I have a simple suggestion: To the barricades!!!