What will we find, should we dare delve, awaiting us in 2012?

Newt or Mitt? More Occupy, or not a bit? A sales tax hike for all? Or better baseball? Crosscut's poet laureate ponders the possibilities in the year to come.

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The new year is here

Newt or Mitt? More Occupy, or not a bit? A sales tax hike for all? Or better baseball? Crosscut's poet laureate ponders the possibilities in the year to come.

The Needle's fifty, Clink is ten,
and we'll elect a Prez again:

So Mitt or Newt, who will it be?
And who's behind door number three?
We've waved goodbye to Herman Cain
Don't bet on Huntsman; he's too sane.
Send Bachman back to Midwest snow
and Perry to the Alamo.

Should we see fate or just a fluke
when caucus-goers in Dubuque
touch off the year's first winning streak
which may implode in just one week?

The individual mandate may
be toast before election day
Five Roberts justices may keep
us safe from socialism's creep
or five (a different five) declare
they're happy with Obamacare.
(The Commerce Clause has stretched before,
why not expand it even more?)
Whatever happens, we all know,
we'll see the cost of healthcare grow.

Obama has some hills to climb.
He won't get far with "change" this time.
Our progress feels much like reverse;
he can't just say "things could be worse."
His buddy Rahm's Chicago's mayor,
those young enthusiasts aren't there
(or are; it's tricky to divine
the whereabouts of folks on-line).

Progressives will, of course, suggest
he cannot hope to do his best
unless he amps the rhetoric,
employs a carrot and a stick
to give the rich a healthy soak
and do more for the common folk.
They may be right, they may be wrong;
they're singing a familiar song,
and right or wrong, they'll keep on tryin',
just like William Jennings Bryan.

Birthers may well reappear,
and try again to make it clear:
no matter what Hawaii says
we 're still led by a foreign Prez.

Will Occupiers occupy
as 2012 goes rushing by?
If so, perhaps they'll drop a clue
about what government should do.

(Some think, of course, that it should shrink
so we can drown it in the sink,
then privatize the corner school,
forget about the Golden Rule,
ignore the homeless when they whine,
and whisper softly, "I've got mine.")

We know that Congress will address
the causes of our joblessness
— "address," that is, rhetorically;
but will they act? Let's wait and see.
To cut the payroll tax anew,
to hold their breath 'til they turn blue,
to tax the rich or tax the poor —
they'll tax our patience, that's for sure.
The jobs of which they've fondest grown
would seem to be their very own.

As troops depart Afghanistan
where Karzai still remains The Man,
one wonders if we'll give the order
to pursue across the border
guys who blow things up, or try,
with blessings from the ISI.

Will tanks kill citizens in Homs?
Will North Korea build more Bombs?
The chances are extremely slim
we'll learn to love the latest Kim.

The Arab Spring has sprung and yet
we still don't know just what we'll get:
Will Cairo's generals walk away?
And would we rather see them stay?
(Elections there look pretty good —
if you're the Muslim Brotherhood.)

The euro's likely to endure
although no one is really sure.
The coming year should have its thrills:
Will Germany still foot the bills?
Will Greek taxpayers really pay?
Will drachmas reappear one day?

In these parts, things are bound to change;
though it may seem a little strange,
we'll go to Costco for our booze.
Seattle stores won't make us choose:
the paper/plastic quandary's gone,
we'll all pick paper from now on.

With Husky football in the Clink
where can alumni go to drink?
But don't despair; it's just one season
and it's for a splendid reason:
Husky stadium reborn
a bright new gold-and-purple morn
to greet the no-doubt grateful eyes
of students whose tuitions rise
each time our legislators find
state revenues have lagged behind.

The Seahawks may soon draft the guy
who'll quarterback them by and by
(surprisingly, they didn't suck
enough to draft an Andrew Luck)
unless, in coach Pete Carroll's mind,
Tarvaris Jackson is their find.
Whoever's there, it seems a cinch,
he'll hand the ball to Marshawn Lynch.

The Sounders get Rosales back
so Kasey Keller's what they lack.
Without him, can they still compete?
He leaves big shoes; they've found big feet —
although we haven't seen him yet
we know Gspurning fills the net.

Since Susan Enfield leaves in June
Seattle needs a new supe soon.
someone who'll make the test scores bloom
with 30 kids in every room
and keep employees near and far
from pilfering the cookie jar.

Will folks be lining up to run
when Mike McGinn's first term is done?
Now that the tunnel's way is clear,
how will Hizzoner spend the year?
Perhaps a guy who rides his bike,
and has good words for those who hike,
will try to get the city cops
to make a few more traffic stops
of drivers who refuse to yield
to anything that's not four-wheeled.

The DOJ has found, of course,
Seattle's cops use too much force.
Is smiting citizens the norm?
The feds are bullish on reform.
Hizzoner says that he will do
what Jenny Durkan told him to.
But will that promise be fulfilled?
Don't ask Hizzoner; ask the Guild.

Last year Seattle voters nixed
a car tab fee that might have fixed
some potholed streets and strung some wire,
planned streetcars to which some aspire.
That 60 bucks per year per car
might not have gotten very far.
Just how it worked was hard to tell.
No wonder it was hard to sell.
Will car tab fees be back this year?
Would voters pass them?  That's not clear.

But city bridges won't get stronger
unmaintained a little longer;
potholes will not fill themselves —
we might as well rely on elves.
This backlog — so one often hears —
will last us for 500 years
by which time folks may live on Mars
or possibly abandon cars;
just wait a while, that is to say —
the problem's going to go away.

A century ago — it's true —
the Titanic slipped beneath the blue.
The Bull Moose party foundered, too,
with Teddy Roosevelt and his crew
though Washington that year preferred
the old Rough Rider to the herd.
That very same election saw
initiatives become state law.
It wasn't at the time foreseen
initiatives by now would mean
a government each year downsized,
a legislature paralyzed.

This year our solons will not raise
much revenue in 60 days
but they may ask the people for
a vote to raise a little more.
The sales tax is the devil known,
so it's the devil we'll be shown.
Will voters choose to share their wealth
to keep some folks on Basic Health,
keep schools from RIFing once again,
keep felons safely in the pen?

There doesn't seem a lot to gain,
with budgets circling the drain,
but Inslee and McKenna run
(a race some think too soon begun)
to occupy Chris Gregoire's chair
and lead our state of disrepair.

OK, it doesn't doesn't look so hot,
but 2012 is what we've got:
Perhaps Assad gets shown the door,
Obama gets another four,
the unemployment numbers fall,
the Mariners play winning ball,
La Niña holds off on the rain
(so mudslides don't delay the train),
the spring chinook come back in droves
— let's have some fishes with our loaves —
and wine grapes ripen in the east.
Let's raise a toast.  Let's have a feast.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Daniel Jack Chasan

Daniel Jack Chasan

Daniel Jack Chasan is an author, attorney, and writer of many articles about Northwest environmental issues.