Life dictates that nothing lasts forever and as it is with all things 2013 has come and gone. If we look back at what we’ve witnessed over the past year it shows the good, the bad, and now that 2014 is upon us we will most likely see more of the same in the coming year. Let’s take a look at some of the more significant events of the year that was, and maybe I’ll offer a prediction as to what may lay ahead in the New Year.
The year began on a high note with President Barack Obama being re-inaugurated for his second term as president of the United Sates. The widow of slain Mississippi Civil Rights leader Medgar Evers, Myrlie Evers-Williams, was invited to offer the invocation and it was a proud moment. Of course, this was the worst thing that could happen from the conservatives, GOP, and the Klan-wing of the party commonly known as the Tea Party, point of view.
We witnessed an event that had not happened in more than six-hundred years. Eighty-five year old Pope Benedict XVI announced his resignation citing health concerns claiming it made international travel impossible. My question is how does the Pope send a resignation letter to God, but with all of the difficulties the church have endured of late – his time had come. The white smoke appeared, and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina was elected the new Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. He took the name Pope Francis and the new bishop of Rome was the first Latin American ever selected for the office, as well as the first Jesuit.
In what might be described as a miracle, the Baltimore Ravens defeated the San Francisco 49ers to win Super Bowl 47. Ok, I digress! The year was full of extreme weather events all over the world causing trillions in damages. Detroit filed for bankruptcy. The voting rights act was gutted ushering in an era of voting rights discrimination – officially sanctioned by the Supreme Court. This is also to include a multitude of shootings and tragic events across the nation.
The most horrific event was the horrible bombing that took place during the Boston Marathon where two bombs were detonated near the finish line killing three people and injuring 183. Two brothers, the alleged terrorist, planned the event under the nose of everyone. One was killed, and the younger of the two was caught days later after a massive manhunt.
The Boy Scouts of America voted to change its current policy, allowing openly homosexual youth to become members. The decision was controversial among evangelical Christians, and the Southern Baptist Convention at its 2013 annual meeting encouraged Southern Baptist Church members to explore scouting alternatives to the BSA. The Gay Rights movement became huge in the national debate over gay marriage and gay rights. Exodus International, the world’s oldest Christian ministry, reached out to individuals with same-sex attractions and announced in June that it would be closing.
On June 26, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage was released. In a 5-4 vote, the Court struck down portions of the Defense of Marriage Act mandating that homosexual couples are entitled to federal benefits. The Court also refused to weigh in on California’s Proposition 8 debate, which means that, for the time being, same-sex marriage will be legal in California, despite two voter referendums that defined marriage as between a man and woman.
On the legal front, Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife were sentenced to prison for political crimes. Kwame Kilpatrick was also convicted and given a long prison term. Yet, the killer in Florida was acquitted in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin. While Kilpatrick received nearly thirty-years in prison the guy in Florida got away with murder and given his guns back, to possibly bring more harm to the citizenry. In fact, this man has been arrested and has had several encounters with law enforcement with guns involved since he got away with murder. This case, in my view, is strikingly similar to what happened to Emmitt Till in 1955. However, the accused became the poster boy for Stand Your Ground Laws by the gun rights nuts.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her husband, Prince William welcomed a baby boy, Prince George of Cambridge born to be the future King of England. Here in American there was a war taking place over the Affordable Care Act as the new government healthcare legislation, nicknamed Obamacare began to take effect. This coincided with a temporary government shutdown, resulting from Democratic and Republican elected officials failing to agree on a budget. This was a sad state of affairs just as Unemployment Benefits were cut for 1.5 million Americans out of work.
November and December will be remembered as a time when many notable people died. On November 30, Paul Crouch, famous for being the co-founder of Trinity Broadcasting Network, died at age 79. Nelson Mandela, the Former South African President described by the Chicago Tribune as a “civil rights giant”, passed away on December 5 at age 95. Mandela, elected in 1994, was South Africa’s first black president. On December 14, Peter O’Toole, best known for his role in Lawrence of Arabia, passed away at age 81. Joan Fontaine, a classic movie actress, best-known for her roles in Alfred Hitchcock films such as Rebecca and Suspicion, died on December 15 at age 96. Fontaine is survived by her older sister, actress Olivia de Havilland, who is 97. On December 16, classic country artist, Ray Price passed away at age 87. Price is known for his hits such as “For the Good Times” and “Heartaches by the Number”.
I only named a few of the greats we lost but it was not to neglect the memory’s of all those that transition during the year. My prayers go out to the families of all that we lost. And that’s my thought provoking perspective…