Every new year brings with it new hope, new goals and new fears. Resolutions and predictions fly like birds and then fall like snow, and by the time February arrives, the new year isn’t new anymore. As a result, all of that nonsense from the month prior is treated like a trip to Vegas: what happens there, stays there.
2023 will be different though, won’t it? Can’t you feel it?
OK, maybe not. But let’s try for a moment so that a year from now we can look back on this week and see how good our collective foresight turned out to be. Some of my bets are admittedly long shots but “could happen.” Some are smaller fantasies, though they “should happen.” And finally, some are stone-cold, lead-pipe locks that absolutely “will happen.”
Four things that could happen:
- The Indianapolis Colts will draft Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud in the first round of the NFL Draft in April. However, he will refuse to sign his rookie contract due to a dispute over owner Jim Irsay’s demand that he learn how to play “Smoke on the Water” on the guitar as a condition of the deal. He won’t play in 2023, and the Colts will finish 4-12-1 for the second consecutive year.
- U.S. Reps. Victoria Spartz and Jim Banks announce they will vacate their seats in the U.S. House to run for Indiana’s open Senate seat in 2024. Both run on a “Hunter Biden’s Laptop” platform, whatever that is, and the primary race devolves into a contest on which one is less interested in solving actual problems. Banks ultimately wins that particular battle in a close one, only to lose to Democrat Beau Bayh in the fall. It turns out the MAGA desire to figuratively “own the libs” backfires, when they find out Bayh literally owns them.
- The Indiana Supreme Court strikes down the state’s new abortion law as it violates the 2015 Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In a striking turn of events, Evangelical Christianity is not the only religious freedom RFRA protects. 2024 presidential candidate, Mike Pence, organizes a movement named “That’s Not What We Meant.” He is scheduled to be interviewed by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, so that he can finally admit that the law was always designed to discriminate. However, the interview is abruptly cancelled when Pence enters the witness protection program on the eve of Donald Trump’s first criminal trial.
- The Indianapolis I-65/I-70 North Split construction project, originally scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022, then delayed until April of 2023, is surprisingly sold to Roger Penske. The owner of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces plans to use the site as a motocross/tractor pull venue. Penske lets it slip at the press conference announcing the deal that the development of the site had been done in partnership with state government from the beginning.
Two things that should happen:
- Competition in the Indianapolis mayor’s race will force change, one way or another. Mayor Joe Hogsett is seeking a third term and has all the advantages that come with incumbency as a Democrat in a deep blue city. However, the presence of State Rep. Robin Shackleford and Gregory Meriweather in a three-candidate primary changes the conversation. Shackleford has an Indianapolis constituency, a resumé and credibility of her own. Both she and Meriweather are black and will run on a “change” platform. At least one Republican, pastor James Jackson, has also entered the race. Another potential Republican candidate, conservative radio and political commentator, Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, is also considering a run. Both of these men are also black. Hogsett will find himself in the minority in 2023, and this environment forces even a favored incumbent to reevaluate and recommit to a city that needs an injection of new energy.
- The Indiana General Assembly will again try to criminalize librarians and school officials for distributing books it doesn’t like, as detailed by Arika Herron of the Indianapolis Star. In its zeal to allegedly protect our children from “Maus” and the award-winning works of Toni Morrison, Hoosiers discover that legislators don’t really know much about teaching. Or reading. Or even children.
Two things that will happen:
- I will finish my second novel. It will be a historical drama about the chaotic Indiana summer of 2020. Young adults will want to read this one, but I warn everyone now, the story includes both sex and violence. Yes, I’m daring Indiana to ban it.
- There will be a mass shooting at an Indiana school. Statistically, this is all but certain.
That’s the list of predictions. It isn’t nearly complete, but my gambling budget is tight and inflexible. Happy New Year!