Well, if 2016 didn’t end with a bang, the kind where the door bangs shut, as in don’t let the door hit you on the way out.
I’m talking about none other than the election of Donald Trump as president of these United States. Oh. My. What was America thinking? I take solace in the fact that he lost the popular vote by 2.9 million ballots, showing that a plurality had it right, even if the Electoral College went the other way.
But I shouldn’t have been surprised. It was right here in this spot that my No. 1 prediction for 2016 was the election of Donald Trump as president. The only thing I got wrong was that reality-TV star Kim Kardashian would be his running mate, and she would have been an improvement over Mike Pence.
It all makes me a little afraid to offer predictions for 2017, as this is Jan. 1, the day proud prognosticators look into their crystal balls to see what is in store for the new year. Here goes …
10) Jack Franks, the first popularly elected McHenry County Board chairman, will declare Aug. 3 to be “Democrat Day” at the McHenry County Fair. But he will not attend because of a sudden prior engagement. All the better to let them think he is really a Republican.
9) The Cubs will successfully defend their World Series championship, like they did in 1908. No more Lovable Losers tag for this team. Just another dynasty. Winning is expected, and fans will come to find out, it’s not as fun as choking. Fans will get greedy, an ugly thing. Better to lose.
8) I haven’t consulted the Old Farmers Almanac, but McHenry County will be socked with a blizzard on Jan. 26, leaving 22 inches of snow in its wake. We can expect a wet spring, a hot summer and a short autumn, leading into the coldest December on record. I haven’t studied meteorology, but my guess is as good as any weather forecaster, so beware.
7) Disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich has appealed his 14-year corruption sentence in federal court, citing his good behavior behind bars, and has asked President Barack Obama to commute his sentence for trying to sell Obama’s former Senate seat to the highest bidder. Blagojevich will be denied by both. Not even President Donald Trump will be swayed. “Couldn’t make it out of the fourth episode of impressive Celebrity Apprentice. Bad Blago. Still steamed I didn’t get an Emmy for CA after all these years. Bad, so bad.”
6) The Bears will trade for Dallas backup quarterback Tony Romo, muscled out of his job by a rookie, and the Bears will finish the season 10-6, earning a playoff appearance.
5) Jack Franks campaigned on a promise to shrink county government. Little did he know the personal implications. Instead of shrinking county government, Franks will shrink to 5-foot even, as will a majority of county board members. Franks will regret not being more specific.
4) The Illinois Legislature and Gov. Bruce Rauner will fail to agree to a budget for the second year in a row, making Illinois the laughingstock of the states. The Legislature will dissolve and Rauner will resign, and no one will notice, as both parties prepare for the 2018 elections. The exodus of residents to other states will continue; Illinois will lose a staggering 100,000 residents in 2017, saying, “We don’t necessarily want good government – this is Illinois, after all – we’ll just settle for government.” And they will go elsewhere to find it.
3) Mutt Puppy will learn to sit, stay, lay and chill; chill being the most important. But he also will pick up French, in addition to bark. We quit our day jobs and go on the road with him, joining the circus as a sideshow act.
2) Cars that drive themselves will begin to show up on U.S. roads in amazing numbers, allowing people to text and “drive.” However, a computer glitch makes the auto-cars unusually aggressive, as they take on standard cars that operate outside the bounds of the law. Road rage becomes computerized, and police aren’t sure whether to ticket the “drivers” or have the offending vehicles towed to storage for violating the rules of the road.
1) Judge Judy Sheindlin will be nominated by President Trump to fill the vacancy left by the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia almost a year ago. Judge Judy has had one of the top-rated daytime TV shows for almost 20 years. She has a star of the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Before TV, she was even a real judge. That’s huge.
• Dick Peterson, who lives in Woodstock, is a mental-health advocate. He is a freelance writer and a former Northwest Herald Opinion Page editor. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.