Tilting at a pretty silly windmill

Dear President Biden,

Yesterday I read the WP’s 2022 preview – the collection of mini-essays by a handful of reporters and editorialists wherein they attempt to read the tea leaves and predict the big ticket issues for the coming year. Here’s the list of topics (in order):

The Pandemic; Climate Change; Elections; Food; Pants; Dogs; The Economy; Art; Crypto; Music; Schools; Travel; News

What, pray tell, is missing from this list of 13 items?

Well, it’s probably pretty darn obvious to you but just in case you think the list is cool, what’s missing is basically anything directly speaking to equity or even equality. That, plus anything to do with gun violence, mental health and addiction, the carceral state, the military machine, police brutality, abortion rights, domestic violence – the list could and should go on quite a lot longer, but dang, if they’d just picked two or three more substantive issues, I wouldn’t be making a fuss. And while the Elections mini-essay does talk about voting rights, it sidesteps the core, looming issue of our democracy being in danger of completely giving up the ghost.

I suppose that from a business perspective – and let’s be real, this is the perspective that matters – it’s smart to have the balance skew towards lighter fare (Pants, Dogs, Art, Music, Travel, Crypto, Food) and to just make wavy hands over the obligatory heavier things to avoid bringing readers too far down (to earth) and to keep them engaged and clicking. But oh my goodness does it feel like we should be done with the lighter fare in these sort of contexts – there are so many more important actual concerns that need our collective attention in 2022 than whether our pants are going to be “hard” or “soft” or if our dogs are going to miss us when we are finally able to go back to working in-person.

These WP previews have been coming at us since 2017 and a quick perusal shows that they’ve never addressed any of the heavier, thornier concerns facing the nation. I realize I’m tilting at a pretty silly windmill here (I tried to leave a comment but missed the comment window), but it’s (clearly) bugging me and I wanted to get it off my chest, so here you go.

Finally, I realized this morning that my haiku from New Year’s Day needs a slight, but critically important edit so here it is again with the edit included:

Twenty twenty-two;
same old, same old, or can will we
break free into love?

May we all be safe and sound in 2022.
May we be willing to break free into love.
May we be strong enough to face what needs to be faced.
May we accept that strong or not, we need to face what needs to be faced.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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