This commentary is by Bob Stannard of Manchester, an author, musician and former state legislator and lobbyist.
When you read this, it should be the day before Christmas Eve, a time when families throughout the world come together to celebrate the season of love and giving.
While you’re getting ready, I’m digging to find the most important and interesting events that have occurred over this past year. Let’s get to it.
January: Every January starts off with hope and promise for another New Year. It doesn’t take long for that optimism to disintegrate. President Joe Biden recognizes the one-year anniversary of the worst insurrection attack on our nation’s Capitol in modern times. Later in the month, he gives a solemn speech in which he warns the world of a possible “minor incursion” by Russia into Ukraine.
We offer a farewell salute to comedian Louie Anderson, Meat Loaf, fashion designer Andre Leon Talley, Bob Saget and Sidney Poitier.
February: Beijing, China, shows the world how they do the Winter Olympics. This is the only city to have hosted both the summer and winter Olympics. The joy and excitement of the Olympics are quickly washed away by Vladimir Putin’s twisted, murderous brain as he initiates an invasion of Ukraine. His expectations are that this conflict will last only a few days.
In addition to the senseless deaths of many Ukrainians, the world loses Chris Huvane, manager of Hollywood stars, to suicide.
March: More than a few days have passed and Putin’s expectations for a quick war with Ukraine aren’t looking good. President Joe Biden announces additional, crushing sanctions on Russia. The World Athletes Organization bans Russia from participation in any events. Nations around the world condemn Putin.
Covid deaths worldwide hit 6 million. We lose a great actor, William Hurt. Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins reminds us that the beat doesn’t go on.
April: Paleontologists discover the oldest dinosaur fossil linked to the very day of the Chicxulub asteroid impact. Ukraine accuses Russia of war crimes (that’s not a hard lift). Ukraine sinks the Russian boat Moskva, the largest to be sunk since World War II. Putin hangs his head in shame.
Covid cases surpass 500 million worldwide. Gilbert Gottfried has left the building. Ice fishing on Lake Bomoseen is winding down.
May: Just when we thought Covid was a problem (it was), the first case of monkeypox is discovered in London. Bongbong Marcos and Sara Duterte are elected the 17th president and 15th vice president of the Philippines. I don’t particularly care, but I do like the name “Bongbong.” ‘
“Goodfellas” actor Ray Liotta dies peacefully in the Dominican Republic. The 2022 midterm elections kick off. Some strange things are happening in Vermont.
June: In Vermont, a critic of the two-party system, Liam Madden, announces that he’s running for Congress as a Republican. H. Brooke Paige is running for everything else. The GOP is not happy.
The “Whiskey War” comes to an end when Canada and Denmark agreed to split Hans Island in half. Did they settle it over a beer?
On June 24, the Supreme Court overturns 50 years of constitutionally protected women’s right to choose, setting off a firestorm nationwide. Six days later, Ketanji Jackson Brown is sworn in as the first Black woman on the Supreme Court.
July: Campaigns are heating up right along with the global temperature. No one seems to care much about either one. 53 migrants from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador are found dead in a tractor-trailer truck in San Antonio, Texas. Politicians from both parties find it more advantageous to keep the immigration issue alive vs. trying to solve it.
Ivana Trump is found dead in her NYC apartment. Her ex-husband and ex-president says, “She was a wonderful, beautiful, amazing person” and he buries her in one of his golf courses.
Tony Dow, aka Wally, has left it to Beaver.
August: It’s primary season! Peter Welch soars past his eagle-eyed opponent in the U.S. Senate race. Becca Balint wins the primary for Welch’s old seat. She will face off against Liam Madden, who won the GOP nomination and immediately said he wouldn’t caucus with the Republicans if he won. The Vermont GOP is wicked mad now. H. Brooke Paige won a bunch of elections and now has to decide which one to accept. Fortunately for Sarah Copeland-Hanzas, Paige opts to run for secretary of state.
Olivia Newton John slides off into “Grease-World.”
September: The world bids farewell to the extraordinary life of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth.
Putin illegally annexes the Ukraine regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia into the Russian Federation.
Liz Truss is appointed prime minister of England. She’s tossed out after only seven weeks, thus spawning some great jokes about lettuce.
Vermont state fairs are flooded with politicians looking for votes.
October: Coming under the category of “Some People Take Soccer Way Too Seriously,” a fatal human crush occurs during an association football match at Kanjuruhan Stadium in Malang Regency, East Java, Indonesia, killing 131 people and injuring more than 500.
Money from FTX is pouring into campaigns in Vermont.
The world says goodbye to Loretta Lynn, Angela Lansbury, Hagrid aka Robbie Coltrane, and Leslie Jordan. 🙁
November: After what felt like years in the making, it’s finally time to vote, and vote we do. Peter Welch will be replacing Sen. Patrick Leahy. Becca Balint easily sails into Congressman Welch’s old seat. Gov. Phil Scott will be our governor again, and H. Brooke Paige, once again, goes down to defeat.
After a fatal shooting, Takeoff takes off. Oscar winner Irene Cara goes off to that big screen in the sky. The world population hits 8 billion. Enough already!
And just when we thought “Karens” couldn’t do anything else more ridiculous, a woman in Raleigh, North Carolina, calls the cops on a BBQ joint because her meat was too pink. Enough already!
December: The world hoists a pint and bids “CHEERS” to Kirstie Alley.
Putin’s maniacal, hateful, illegal war in Ukraine shows no end in sight.
The mess at our southern border is still a mess.
We’re on the verge of shutting down the government (again), because the GOP senators don’t want to pay our bills.
Although at times it does feel like the world is going to hell in a handbasket, this past week President Joe Biden signed the “Respect for Marriage” bill, thus legalizing same-sex marriages — something Vermont did back in 2009. Yes, Vermont has always been ahead of the nation, except for those times when we’re not.
To my faithful readers: I want to personally thank you for hanging in there for my 20th anniversary of writing this column. For those of you who have disagreed with me over the years, I say, “Let’s have a toast to the First Amendment!”
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to one and all.
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