**FILE** Kevin McCarthy (Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)
**FILE** Kevin McCarthy (Gage Skidmore via Wikimedia Commons)

Between Christmas and New Year’s Day, my personal tradition is spending well-deserved time in the quiet, contemplative reflection of the past year. As always, this year has had its difficulties, triumphs and disasters, and a never-ending list of events to manage.

My health has not been perfect this year, but God has blessed me with relatively good health. He has allowed me to witness the daily cycling of nearly 365 suns. I have also been given the strength and fortitude to work for improvements in the quality of life for underserved members of my community.

I am blessed with family and friends who unconditionally love and support me. Given those blessings, and others not stated, I have had a good year! Whether I make it to this same time in 2023 is a matter of God’s choice. If I do, I will thank Him with the same vigor I thank Him today. If I don’t, it’s His will and I will accept it.

It’s human nature, but I look to this new year with many questions I have had for years. Among the most important: Will leaders elected to direct the path of government use that gift with the measured judgment and quality of character necessary to serve all of our citizens fairly? Recent news suggests otherwise.

The front-runner for the position of speaker of the House, Kevin McCarthy, demonstrates personal character as malleable as a rubber band. We have heard about his obsession to reach the goal of speaker — so obsessed that he openly courts the votes (for speaker) of fascists and racists like Jim Jordan, Marjorie Taylor Green, Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, Paul Gosar, and other Republican miscreants with promises of powerful positions and outsized influence.

We must not forget McCarthy’s major flip-flopping on “The Insurrection” and his embarrassing ring-kissing of Trump for the past six years to gain his favor. McCarthy’s margin to achieve his obsession is so small that he will accept the support of pathological liar George Santos in return for ignoring the fabricated bio and qualifications that Santos used to steal a victory in New York’s District 3. Sadly, if McCarthy achieves his goal of speaker, he will be two heartbeats away from the office of the president.

Republicans will (tenuously) control one-half of our legislative branch, but, when combined with the decisions of the radical Republican Supreme Court, 2023 will probably be as turbulent as 2022. I am sure that:

· Without DOJ intervention, Trump will continue to flaunt his imagined privilege and violate any number of state and federal laws. His current status belies the ideal that no man is above the law.

· The MAGA base, which is overwhelmingly immersed in racism, sexism, xenophobia and loathing for the LGBTQ community, will continue efforts to erase the identity of communities they classify as objectionably different. They will continue efforts to engage in historical revisionism, ban books and, in the face of what they consider failure, exercise violence to enforce their will.

· Republicans will go all-out in their pursuit of power. Constitutional justice no longer holds importance for them. They will gerrymander, suppress votes and seek judicial cooperation to limit the will of voters of color in order to maintain “white power.” In the face of massive worker shortages, especially in jobs undesirable to native-born Americans, they will attempt to close borders to people of color to assuage their fear of ultimately being outnumbered.

In the sphere of politics, I am sure that 2023 will change little from 2022. Fortunately, the spirit and strength of our elders run through our bodies. We have seen adversity and have met it squarely. We will continue our struggle and welcome the new year!

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