Those who regularly follow this column (thanks Bob, thanks mom) may recall with certain fondness that, under the influence of nitrous oxide, I predicted we would be blessed with a black man in the White House. Spinning in a dentist chair more than two years ago with a laughing gas coursing through my neurons and a drill whirling into tooth number 21, I also predicted a woman vice-president. That didn’t turn out to be true. But since Hillary is in the White House a lot nowadays, I’ll give myself a tie score. Astrologers do it all the time.
So thanks to my overwhelming success and (mostly) undefeated record, I thought I’d tackle the next decade. This time, though, with a different prescription because the last one left me dizzy and besides, my teeth are not as British as they once were.
Marijuana seemed like a good choice given that it will be legal in California beginning January 1, 2018 anyway. Maybe sooner. Depends, in part, on the economic recovery. But before I put fresh water in the bong, I warned myself about my inherent optimism, a trait that could make me trip and reach for unattainable utopias to steady myself. Yet, a little idealism never hurt anyone’s feelings except the Republicans.
Phewww… (cue bubbling sound) Hooeww.
Is that someone at the door? No? In that case, gotta say this techno music has so much going for it than meets the ear. Speaking of which, why is it that our eyeballs are as round as the planets? Connection or coincidence?
Kidding. Just dipping a finger into stoner cliché’s to be sure this is “kind bud.” Turns out it is. Santa Cruz’s finest. In the process I’ve slipped into the present tense without even noticing. Might as we’ll stay here, wherever “here” is in this given moment—a task that is not as easy at it sounds. (Look mom, no hands. Bob, I’ll save the rest for you.)
Anyway. Where were we? Ah yes. Sarah Palin. I know. Major buzz kill. But she’s running for president. Not to worry though; she’ll drop out of the race midway just like she did in Alaska. Dick Cheney will consider running. Think I’m stoned out of my gourd? I am. Cheney along with Lou Dobbs (major hurdle with the Hispanic vote), that Mormon pretty boy dude who ran last time (can’t recall his name right now) and that bass-playin’ preacher bro (ditto). The fact that I can’t remember their names, even while jacked up on the reefer, doesn’t bode well for their national name recognition.
That prophetic brilliance aside, what my two fans really want to know is: will Obama win reelection? This kind of political forecasting is far beneath my talents, not unlike a weatherman stepping into the rain and calling for a chance of showers. But sometimes I must stoop to the level of my readers, especially Bob. So yes, Obama will win. Here’s why.
All those angry populist pundits who jumped the gun and accused Obama of not getting anything done in the his first year of office are going to eat their proverbial shorts beginning in the summer of next year while taking a good long whiff of Rush and Beck’s skivvies through 2012 and beyond. Obama and Congress will eventually pass a universal health care plan even if means in 2015 Joe Leiberman will have to suffer a painful death from the last known strain of swine flu. Obama will also squeeze a climate change bill out of Congress that will, in hindsight (2020), be weak but influential. Media buzzword of the same year: “Climate Migration.” As now, we won’t be talking about polar bears and mangroves, but human beings and Floridians.
And the economy? Prudent forethought of this magnitude calls for another bowl. That, and economics—macro, micro or my own—is not exactly my strong suit.
Back now… Whew! Totally discombobulated. Where were we? Oh yes, pondering the future of junk food or junk bonds? Can’t recall which. Whatever the case, I’d practically kill for a bag of ranch flavored Doritos right now. This, despite food-related diseases like diabetes will continue to climb, then begin to taper off around the end of the decade. Behind this encouraging trend will lurk much-improved health care for the poor, health care they couldn’t afford when insurance companies were privately owned and traded on Wall St. Preventive medicine that includes an emphasis on fresh, local food sources will hit its stride around 2014 after Michael Pollan becomes head of USDA. During his confirmation hearings Republican senators will read aloud from his book “Botany of Desire,” with particular emphasis on the chapter regarding marijuana. They’ll accuse Pollan of being a pothead but he’ll get off with a slap on the wrist for immersion journalism. I digress… It the Herb, mon.
Red-hot career advice for the coming decade: Farmer. With continued and later, widespread interest in locally grown, organic food, independently-owned farms will sprout all over this great, paved land. Parking lots will be peeled away and strip malls slashed and replaced by small farms. At least some of them, anyway.
Redder-hot career advice: Anything and everything to do with clean energy technologies, or put another way, everything China is doing right now. We used to be the leader in eco tech long before it was called green, long before China started making more than just plastic toys. It’s embarrassing and true at the same time (deadly combination): dirty air China has a better green energy plan, manufacturing base, and government sponsored R&D than we could hope to achieve in five years. Of course they’re communist. This should be expected. But maybe we can do it in ten years. Here’s to hoping we can lest all that stuff about America tanking like the Roman Empire. It almost happened, but Bush didn’t know how to play the harp.
Cultural trends: Facebook, Twitter, and blogs like this will seem so yesterday in a little more than five years, especially after Google buys both and sells all personal information to what’s left of the too-big-to-fail corporations in 2016. Pithy manifestos like what you ate for dinner will be measured with the same profundity as farting in public (next month).
Someone once said if we don’t study history we’re doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past. I’m a firm believer in this, but once you study history, even a little bit, you realize that history is just a collection of repeated mistakes. Every once in a while, though, there’s a paradigm shift, an Age of Enlightenment say, and humanity makes leaps and bounds. That’s what we’re going to have to do in the next decade. Will we do it? I haven’t the slightest clue. But I’ll go out on a limb to say it’s up to each of us.
Almost forgot. The economy will get better. Pretty soon. Here… Happy New