Friday, January 2, 2009
My Predictions For 2009
Yeah, this is kind of a fluff piece, sorta. Again, I’m not much of a person to sit down and write a blog like it’s my personal diary. There’s plenty of diary blogs around with other T folk discussing how their day at work went, or what they did or their pets did today, or other personal sentiments about things I’m doing or experiencing, etc. That’s something that would make me feel self-centered – just my personal quirk.
However, I did break with that right before Christmas and started writing about more personal stuff (it was a brutal holiday season, sorry), and had a lot of comments (both the complimentary and those worrying). Over the years, I’ve been pretty good at following the patterns on things, so I figured I’d do a personal take on what I foresee based on the trends. Keep in mind, these are purely unscientific – essentially guesstimates. So here are my predictions:
“Never make predictions, especially about the future!” — baseball manager, Casey Stengel
The Obama Administration will do a remarkably solid job (a sincere break from the past eight years). He will help push a number of things through Congress, but a solid core of Republicans will begin trying to discipline their members to stand uniformly in opposition to Democrats – not because it’s bad legislation, but because it benefits the Democrat brand. They will also be extremely obstructionist at Obama’s court picks, even to the point of filibustering to stop all legislative progress. Moderates John McCain and Olympia Snowe will attempt to quash this, but McCain will eventually decide to retire instead of re-run and Snowe will end up having to fend off a GOP-spurred opponent. Democrats will have to stand firm to fight off complete governmental breakdown. The Obama White House will also become increasingly annoyed with what they feel is petulance from the gay and lesbian leadership as the first year of the term unfolds.
On GLBT legislation, both Hate Crimes and the Employment Non Discrimination Act (ENDA) will pass both Houses of Congress near the end of the year or soon after, and end up on Pres. Obama’s desk. The Hate Crimes will be inclusive of gender identity. Barney Frank will feign trying to include “people with transgender” in ENDA, but will let his cold feet get to him and work to push through the non inclusive separate bills – one passing, the other for trans, dying in committee. Ol’ Barn’ will attempt to use the Hate Crimes passage and his hire of Diego Sanchez (the first trans person on Congress staff) as political cover. It won’t work, and Barney really won’t care anyway.
On other GLBT, Mara Keisling (if not the entirety of NCTE) and HRC will again begin working “collaboratively” in an effort to raise Mara’s visibility once again, and to try to damage control the public relations damage HRC self-inflicted this past year. This will create dissension and maybe a couple private defections from NCTE’s board. Mara will become more impatient with working with trans people and will quietly move more towards lesbians as replacements for the board and staffing decisions. Once this knowledge hits the community, there will be further uproar.
Meanwhile, HRC will not participate in the “report card” threat in lobbying Congress this session. They will, however, privately (possibly in conjunction with Mara) give blessings on moving the sexual orientation ENDA (basically a SONDA) forward. They will also circle their wagons and continue fending off the outside trans groups, maybe trying to increase the distance between them. Before the year is up, there will be one more trans defection from HRC, though not necessarily because of the ENDA push.
The trans community, and increasingly more of the gay, lesbian and bi community not part of the entitled and empowered parts of the gay and lesbian movement will become increasingly hostile towards HRC, even while both NCTE & HRC try to repair the split. This will eventually spill over to all of the big-budget Washington organizations. The noticed move of even grassroots groups toward the high-dollar black-tie events for fundraising purposes will create a greater chasm between the grassroots and the controlling organizations.
As the marriage push continues to fumble along, more states will begin collecting signatures for statewide votes banning marriage as it’s the one issue that cash-strapped conservative advocacy groups know they can offer up and still pull in funding. As the move continues forward, there will also be increasing restiveness and desire from trans people to separate ourselves from GLBT. This along with the disenchantment of the rank-and-file grassroots GLBT folk will create a hostile environment for other GLBT groups beyond HRC.
High profile trans activist Donna Rose will be hired in a prominent position in a big GLBT group in a vain attempt to quell acrimony and distinguish themselves from the rest of the pack of orgs. It’ll only work to paint the group as cynical reactive placation and attempting to manipulate the situation. This break by the outsider masses will begin to catalyze on or around Pride Month – recapturing the original spirit on the 40th anniversary of Stonewall Rebellion.
I’ll also go out on a limb and predict that attorney Shannon Minter will leave NCLR and take a job somewhere in either the Obama Administration or in Congress (more likely the Senate). He’ll be our second trans man, and the highest level trans person hired in government.
In entertainment circles, there will be a number of transgender autobiographies and novels in the coming year. There will also be at least one or two film documentaries that will capture a lot of attention beyond the GLBT circle. Twenty-year old model and club-kid Izzy Hilton (a self-described “boy who hires out as a female model”) will burn out near year end and end up in rehab for stint, including a brief respite from the club scene, but will re-enter with more measured approach, moderating the partying, and will come out as trans in the years to come (if not this year). Proliferation of trans rock groups, musical artists with releases in the coming year. Out transgender musicians will have a higher profile this year than ever in our previous history, if not necessarily critical accolades or sales success … yet.
The American economy will pick up briefly during the early/mid first year of the Obama administration, then sink back again, even worse this time. There will be even more, larger economic bombshells including a major scandal about the Wall Street “bailout” for banks and what happened to money. In the end, large portions of the $350 billion will not be accounted for, creating a lot of energy ferreting out the culprits – though they will likely never find them, much less prosecute.
We’ll revisit another edition of the “black tag” migration a la the 1980’s (for those unfamiliar with the term, it was called black tag, because most of the folks moving down were from Michigan, who had black license plates with white lettering). Again we’ll replay the movement of many of the Michigan and other states in the rust belt region down to the south, particularly Texas. And again, I fear they’ll be coming down looking for the employment cornucopia which is, even as I write, already evaporating down here. Nevertheless, Texas and the southern economies are still an improvement over the economic disaster in Ohio, Michigan, Indiana and other states bleeding red ink and hemorrhaging jobs.
This movement will also change the political map, as more of the previous northern working-class Democrats find new roots in the red-meat, corporate elite south. This will cause a political shift in the previously blood red south, and the few Republicans remaining will turn on each other as maps shift, and positioning to remain on shrinking pieces of red turf commences.
Economic stress will also wipe out some of the smaller charitable organizations and incite others to merge in order to survive. Especially on the gay and lesbian advocacy front, this redundant “organization for every mood” environment we’ve seen over the years where new non-profits spring up like mushrooms after a rain will end up reducing itself by necessity. In one sense it will be more efficient. In another sense, it will also become increasingly more “corporate” and self-fulfill the prophecy of the outsiders who scream of the increasing distance and insularity from these groups professing to represent them.
It will also help fuel a move toward more smaller, informal grassroots organizations proliferating without the offices or the bloated obligations requiring the three-figure a plate dinners and star-bedazzled preening for bucks. The newer groups will be the targets of another new move in non-profits: micro-funding which seeks out groups that provide high bang for relatively lower buck.
Foreclosures will increase greatly over the coming year, and continue throughout. The billions put forth early last summer to keep home loans from falling into foreclosure will save precious few loans next year (zero have been worked out to date), and will fall way short of the billion-dollars price tag paid. That will become part of the above “bailout” scandal. Other investment scandals similar to the Madoff one will be discovered, though none approaching the level of that infamous one. And Bernie Madoff will never see a day of jail time, and will die before ever being convicted – another Ken Lay.
Speaking of deaths, more individuals who are called and compelled to testify in charges brought on the Bush / Cheney Administration will die in suspicious circumstances. People will brush it off as mere Clinton-era murder conspiracy heresy, though a number of blogger sleuths will sift through and begin connecting dots. Regardless of how much is eventually discovered, no one will have the stomach for bringing forth charges as they don’t want to be painted as being like the histrionic Republicans circa Clinton impeachment. If Dick Cheney is ever compelled to testify, he will have a heart attack that is fatal this time.
Texas Gov. Rick Perry, and I believe Karl Rove will eventually be outed from their closets, though they’ll fight it avidly. It will finally cost the Texas governor both his governorship and his ever-so-tenuous marriage. Rove will fight it all the way down, even when Jeff Gannon comes out and disputes him. Ironically George W. Bush will not be outed, and will continue living his life in ignorant bliss.
Oil prices will continue falling for some time to come. This will create economic strains in the previously-oil rich Arab states. As a result of the falling revenue and increasing desperation and restive populace, Iran will unfortunately act aggressively at some point during the year, will embargo oil shipments to the West and will create problems for shipments through the Straits of Hormuz. The U.S. will end up having a new, more ominous hotspot to deal with, overshadowing even the Israel-Palestine skirmish (which will continue).
Somali pirates will also compound the problem (possibly with Iranian help), and later this year oil, gasoline and heating fuel prices will again spike upward. This will continue exacerbating already struggling economies across the globe (save for oil producing nations and individually with corporate Big Oil, who will make up for lost ground over the previous year). Europe's economy will falter badly, as will Australia and most nations in Latin America. Venezuela, still pissed off at the Bush-Cheney era, will use this to continue wooing struggling economies in South America to turn away from America (who can’t help them during our own economic malaise).
China, also suffering its own economic woes will sell off bonds, stocks and gold invested in U.S. to shore up their economy. This will create an even worse market situation than we’ve seen to date across the globe. As they do so, and begin righting their own economic ship, they’ll begin working with Iran and other nations to try to stake out a large swath of the petroleum production. While we’re in a current lull, the need for breaking the addiction to oil will become apparent in late 2009, and unfortunately America (esp. areas with inadequate public transportation in the south and west) will be woefully unprepared.
After China’s sell-off, U.S. and most other nations’ currencies will weaken badly and inflation will take off like the Nixon-Ford era of the 1970’s. As our economy worsens, we’ll see something not witnessed in decades: many more protests, particularly of employers and corporations. There will be a rise in spontaneous workplace violence, and indeed violence will increase across the board. There will be an unfortunate rise in snap violence against symbolic targets and individuals, and I see a spike of that targeting GLBT people.
Rubbing salt in that wound, a number of major cities will be found to have been suppressing their murder rate numbers, affecting reported numbers on both protected and non-protected class murder numbers. Folks will lose faith in law enforcement and the court system as a result.
This will be a productive and hope-inspiring year as we all begin working as a community and eschewing, ostracizing and isolating the wealthy and wealth-lusting wannabes. The Reagan cum Bush era of “greed-is-good,” “let-me-display-my-power,” and self-consumed, imperious hubris are no longer heroic nor attractive qualities. That halcyon is now complete. In fashionista terms, “Poor is the new Black” for this coming season, and many more to follow. There’s a lot of roll-up-your-sleeves work with little of the spotlight and no showered riches to follow. Expect to see a lot of grunge style clothing, no “bling,” kitschy out-of style skirts and evening wear, flannel shirts, tees and jackets, holy-kneed jeans, patches, worn out shoes maybe with holes (if our President can be photographed with them, then it’s good enough for us). It’s a bohemian era now.
Expect to see a lot of older, sturdy cars on the road, fixed up and rolling. In fact, a lot of the “old” things that may have been long ago forgotten will now become the new “thing.” People will be pulling out their throwbacks (whether jerseys, music albums and turntables, furniture, books, old movies, even old board games). The solid and proven – the originals – will overshadow the new and flashier, and people will move away from having to have the newest of everything. We’ll also be recapturing some of our historic spirit (even in the guise of protests). So all you castaways out there, hang on – your time is coming back!
And for my last prediction, we may see our first 8-8 NFL team make it to a Super Bowl. My beloved San Diego Chargers come into the playoffs with the worst record amongst all, having been 4-8 at one point, but also come in as one of the hottest teams going. They’ll be playing the current hottest team in the league, Indianapolis, but in San Diego. So, I’ll predict the Colts, and the Titans will both be looking beyond the Chargers (not taking them seriously) and will lose. Getting beyond the Steelers in Pittsburgh is also possible, as they did so before on an AFC championship. Unfortunately, I don’t think Pittsburgh will be taking them as lightly, knowing the history. But there’s a chance they can pull it off!
San Diego going up against New York Giants (with the very same Eli Manning who demanded to be traded to New York after San Diego drafted him) would be a great grudge match! So there are my prognostications, take them for what you will … we’ll see how accurate I am this weekend when the Colts visit San Diego. Charge!
“They're gonna find the Queen is a man but that Philip don't care
Lassie will prove that Elvis and her had a fleeting affair
(I predict) ….
They're gonna stop Saturday night, so you better have fun now
They're gonna stop having the sun, so you better get tan now
(I predict)” — I Predict, the Sparks