2015 year in review

2015 year in review

As the hours tick by in anticipation of celebrating the New Year, I wax philosophical about the year gone by.  I am thankful to be alive having survived the year and the daily hazards of an increasingly more dangerous World.  I am also thankful for my association with those individuals and organizations that make my life so much fuller.  They all know who they are.

I can’t help but remember those who left us in 2015.   Some were known to most of us better than others but so many of them played a part in forming the tapestry of culture that is the backdrop to our life and times in America and the World.  I accept the sad fact of the matter that loss is all a part of living and this is something that is only going to get worse with each passing year.  For now I will take solace in the knowledge that I am not on that particular list.

We saw first hand what a Republican dominated state government got us in Oklahoma in 2015.  An egregious failure of leadership at the state capitol has gotten us nearly an eight figure budget deficit.  Perhaps tying so much of the state’s revenue to the petroleum industry has been proven to not rank among the best of ideas.  However, on a personal level, having oil prices in the tank so far does provide certain benefits on the consumer end.  You can’t compete with these prices which ring almost nostalgic every time I pull up to the gas pump as the the below photo from this week indicates.

Gas prices are at a six year low. QT I-44 and Harvard, 12.30.15

Gas prices are at a seven year low. QT I-44 and Harvard, 12.30.15

This was also the year that I felt the earth move (literally) in the form of more earthquakes with ever increasing intensity than I felt in all my eleven years of naval service in the state of California.  Indeed, this was the year Oklahoma became the earthquake capitol of the World!  As I noted back in June with the post Petroleum Interests Uber Alles, the petroleum-friendly governor and legislature have tilted the playing field in the favor of Big Oil.  To her credit, our illustrious governor suggested citizens of her state discuss with their insurance agents the purchase of earthquake insurance.  I just love that Republican leadership!

We saw the 2016 Presidential race take off in June as Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton kicked off her campaign with a Flag Day speech and toast to the Flag.  Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders entered the race seeking the Democratic nomination in July and changed his party affiliation and assembled an impressive grass roots network raising nearly as much money as former Secretary of State Clinton without the benefit of any PAC contributions.

In July we saw the carnival atmosphere of the Donald Trump campaign kick off and reach critical mass in the month of August.  We saw the summer of Trump, the autumn of Trump and now the winter of Trump and no sign of his frontrunner status faltering.  In August I posted The Appeal of a Narcissist.  It appears little if anything has changed with Mr. Trump to cause me to change my opinion of him and those to whom he appeals.

Oklahoma was privileged to receive a visit from both the President and Vice-President in 2015.  President Obama visited this, the most conservative stretch of Old Route 66 in July and became the first sitting U.S. President to visit a federal prison.  President Obama made world news by visiting the El Reno Federal Correctional FacilityVice President Joe Biden paid a personal visit to Tulsa just last month.  It would be nice if we here in the Sooner State could get a visit from sitting Presidents and Vice Presidents a little more frequently.

We felt a massive political tectonic plate shift back in June as the Supreme Court of the United States ruled in favor of nationwide healthcare subsidies, in favor of same-sex marriage and shot down absolute control of redistricting by state legislatures.  For a conservative majority court to hand down such rulings it looks to have taken the nation decidedly to the left on some key social and economic issues.

Locally, the Democrats of Oklahoma elected Mark Hammons as their state chairman in May and ultimately voted to allow registered Independents to vote in Democratic primary elections.  How such a change in the party’s constitution works out has yet to be seen.  In September we saw a flash of success in a well run campaign for a special election when Cyndi Munson managed to become the first Democrat to win in House District 85.  She proved that winning blue in a sea of red is entirely doable with the right candidate, right message and right strategy.

Our beloved Oklahoma Sooners recovered from a mid-season debacle against the worst Texas team in a decade to run the table and win their ninth Big 12 Title under head coach Bob Stoops.  We’ll see this afternoon if they are as for real as they have convinced their faithful and so many of their critics.  They kick it off in the Orange Bowl against their old nemesis from last year’s Russell Athletic Bowl, the Clemson Tigers.  The winner goes on to play for the 2015 National Championship.  So on that note I believe I can conclude that with OU playing for another national championship, the more things change the more they stay the same.

On a personal note I would like to thank everyone with whom it has been my privilege to know, work and associate with in 2015.  I want to thank all my friends both old and new, those I see frequently in person for whatever occasion and those who are merely “Facebook” friends and acquaintances that helped shape my human experience that was 2015.  I especially want to thank two very special friends with whom I was close so many years ago and with whom I recently reconnected.  They know who they are and they make me look at my life is terms that make the beauty of it impossible to miss.

Farewell 2015!  Your highs, lows, and people will be remembered always.





1 Comment

  1. Carl A.
    Dec 31, 2015

    Great column, Stan – always enjoy your blog! Couple of comments: the world is no different than it ever has been – don’t buy into the Republican fear-mongers ‘sky is falling, sky is falling’ routine… the odds of >anything< actually happening to make this an "increasingly more dangerous World" is minuscule. The world is what it is – the fact that it is sometimes a dangerous place has never changed. As for losses getting "worse with each passing year", don't let that bother you much – ageing is a natural phenomenon, and interesting to behold if you have your mind in the right frame of reference – it's all just a means of telling us that its time to move on to bigger & better things. To paraphrase Clint Eastwood in 'Unforgiven', "We're all on that particular list, kid…" 😉 Have a great year in 2016, Stan – its the year you get to vote Donald Trump OUT of any political office! 🙂