Bob Stannard: Au revoir 2018 - The year in review
All years are interesting, but 2018 has proven to be more interesting than some. It's odd how this year appears to be ending the way it began. I've taken the liberty of embellishing some of the events. Let's get to it, shall we?
January — Turkey invades northern Syria to capture land held by the Kurds. The federal government shuts down over immigration policy. A total lunar eclipse results in a "super-moon." Sales of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" increase tenfold. Stock market blows past 25,000!
February — A dazzling display of technology welcomes the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, Korea. Seventeen kids are gunned down at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, causing our nation's youth to finally get engaged in the gun control debate. Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is indicted. Manafort's partner, Rick Gates, cops a plea.
March — Trump announces tariffs. Says it's good for America. Former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and daughter Yulia are poisoned in Salisbury, England. Police suspect the Kremlin was involved, resulting
in the year’s first government-sanctioned murder attempt. Trump takes Kim Jung Un's bait and agrees to meet to discuss denuclearization. Kim had no intentions of doing so; still doesn't. China's Xi Jinping decides he wants to be president for life. Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin salivate at the thought. Putin is elected to a fourth term, which may last for life. Over 900 cities internationally protest gun violence in "March for our Lives." One hundred Russian diplomats (spies) are deported over the poisoning of Russian agents. Porn star Stormy Daniels sues Trump, thus launching the career of Michael Avenatti, Esq.
April — Using deadly Sarin gas, Syria's Bashar_al-Assad kills 70 people. We bomb his airport. China announces 25 percent tariffs on American goods; not good for America. Bill Cosby is found guilty.
May — Study shows that 46 percent of Americans experience loneliness. Facebook was supposed to cure this, but didn't. Senate Intelligence Committee reports that Russia really did interfere with our elections on behalf of Donald Trump. Trump blinks; puts tariffs on China on hold. Harvey Weinstein accused of rape, thus rightfully ending his career. Trump increases tariffs on everyone except China; oh and Russia, of course.
June — Anthony Bourdain rolls a fatty and checks out of Planet Earth. At G7 summit, Trump says he wants Russia back in to make it the G8 again. He also suggests eliminating tariffs. The world is confused. Seventy U.S. attorneys tell A.G. Jeff Sessions to end his horrible policy of child separation at the border. Letter falls on deaf ears. Trump pulls America out of the United Nations Human Rights Council. Hundreds of thousands Americans protest the child separation policy.
July — The corrupt Scott Pruitt resigns from the EPA. China accuses Trump of starting a trade war. Trump nominates Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Three women accuse Kavanaugh of sexual assault. After having forced Al Franken out for the same allegations, the Senate confirms Kavanaugh. Special prosecutor Robert Mueller indicts 12 Russians. Trump meets privately with Putin in Helsinki, then hold hands at a press conference where Trump heaps praise on Putin. Sen. John McCain declares this to be "one of the most disgraceful performances by an American president in memory." The world learned that Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, had been secretly recording their meetings. Upon hearing this news, Trump reportedly needed to use his golden toilet. Wes and May Stannard open "Moonwink," Vermont's only authentic Burmese restaurant, in Manchester. The parents are very proud.
August — Trump demands an end to the Russian Investigation. Cries, "witch hunt." Trump admits his son, Donald Trump Jr., attended a meeting at Trump Tower during the 2016 election campaign "to get information on an opponent," but insists it was "totally legal and done all the time in politics." Says he didn't know about it. Michael Cohen pleads guilty to eight counts. Manafort convicted on eight counts. Witches spotted in the gallery. John Lennon's assassin, Mark Chapman, denied parole for the 10th time. GOOD.
September — Unnamed editorial from a senior official appears in The NY Times warning of the concerns within the Trump administration. Christine Blasey Ford, and two other women, accuse Supreme Court nominee Brent Kavanaugh of sexual assault. She testifies in the Senate. They don't care. Kavanaugh is confirmed. Bill Cosby sentenced to 3-10 years.
October — A Saudi prince orders the murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi. World leaders are outraged. Trump sides with the Saudi prince. Explosive devices are sent to numerous Democrats by rabid Trump supporter, Cesar Sayoc. Trump tells Americans that we are being invaded by a caravan of immigrants; sends thousands of U.S. troops to the border.
November — A "blue wave" hits Washington with Democrats capturing nearly 40 new House seats. Discussion of the Caravan Invasion ceases to be an issue. Troops return from whence they came. Kathleen James tops the ticket in her bid for the Vermont State House, defeating incumbent Brian Keefe. Michael Cohen pleads guilty to yet another crime: lying to Congress.
December — Michael Cohen sentenced to three years in prison. New York court orders Donald J. Trump Foundation to shut down. Defense Secretary James Mattis resigns. Trump forces his third government shutdown, this time over funding for a wall that the majority do not want. Stock market drops over 2,500 points, wiping out all gains made for the year.
We end 2018 with a nation in chaos. Our president is facing no fewer than 17 investigations. Dozens of people have been indicted and it seems likely that more indictments will be forthcoming. Qualified people don't wish to serve in this administration. Corruption is running rampant. The world is less stable than it was a year ago. We'd like to think that things couldn't get any worse and that 2019 will bring resolution and stability to our nation.
As always, I'd like to thank those who faithfully read my column, whether you agree with my opinions or not. Next year will be the beginning of my fifteenth year as a Vermont columnist. It's an honor.
Best wishes for the New Year.
Bob Stannard writes a regular column for the Banner.
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