OK, so 2015 was a bummer. But we are a people with a tradition of looking to the future with hope — and having a sense of humor.
So here’s my prediction for the major news stories of 2016:
January: In the midst of a winter heat wave, Madison Square Garden cancels Ice Capades show due to melting ice; Republicans abruptly cancel outdoor “Global Warming Is A Myth” rally in Minnesota after key speakers suffer sunstroke.
February: On the eve of Super Tuesday primaries, Donald Trump announces his vice presidential running mate: Nicole “Snooki” Polizzi of the “Jersey Shore” reality MTV show. “Hey, she’s a woman,” Trump notes.
At Super Bowl ceremony in Santa Clara, Calif., NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell trips, hits head against iron goal post and is knocked unconscious. Awakening two days later he mumbles repeatedly, “no concussion.” X-rays reveal nothing.
March: United Nations votes Syrian President Assad as Humanitarian of the Year, crediting him with encouraging Syrians to seek new lives in democratic countries. Israel and Micronesia only countries to vote no; U.S. abstains.
Obama said to be considering another “red line” for Syria. If crossed, it would result in unspecified U.S. punishment. White House sources say “red line” would be somewhere in the Oval Office.
April: On Opening Day, Yankees lose 1-0 when Alex Rodriguez, who was on second base in the ninth inning, rounds third on Carlos Beltran’s lone drive to center field but refuses to score until he checks with his agent. Thrown out easily at home, A-Rod blames fans and media for the loss.
May: Iran shocks world by launching heavy rocket attacks against 11 European and Arab Sunni countries, sending Revolutionary Guard into Paris and London and kidnapping Queen Elizabeth. In response, Secretary of State Kerry invites Tehran to discuss over tea, assures Americans that Iran nuclear rollback “still on track.”
June: Pope Francis invites “all people everywhere” to apply for sainthood. “Who am I to say which of us is imperfect?” says Fran (as he asks to be called), after being named winner of Most Popular Papal Pontiff Ever contest.
On presidential election front, Chris Christie ends campaign, citing unfortunate slogan: “Christie – America’s Bridge To The Future.”
Hillary Clinton flies to Jerusalem, promises not to visit Palestinian President Abbas or kiss his wife; Netanyahu pledges not to announce new settlement construction in Jerusalem until Clinton boards plane for home.
July: New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver holds first press conference in jail, describes High Holiday services schedule for penitentiary penitents at in-house Congregation Ahavat Kessef. Silver notes need to charge for seats, given the expected overflow, and announces additional Daf Yomi classes.
At Democratic convention in Philadelphia, “Hail To Hillary” coronation ceremony delayed due to extended bathroom break.
Republicans, meeting in Cleveland, revamp convention procedures, announce Extreme Boxing matches to determine top candidate. Rubio too young to qualify; Bush begs off; Cruz eliminated for low blows.
Calling opponents “lightweights,” Christie considers re-entering race.
September: At U.N. General Assembly, Abbas threatens to hold his breath until Israel ends occupation. Palestinians respond enthusiastically, promise glorious funeral for him. Israelis note they invented that form of diplomacy. “Yitzhak Shamir held his breath over everything,” Netanyahu says wistfully.
At U.N. podium, Israeli prime minister tears up his speech, whips out crayons and draws crude picture of firecracker, pledging to light it under “The Supreme Leader’s supreme tuchus.”
On eve of High Holidays, Israelis mark inaugural Honor Our Statesmen Day, bringing snacks and adult magazines to jailed former officials.
October: In rare sign of unity, rabbis of all denominations sign statement agreeing that “the High Holidays are officially late this year.” Effort to add amendment encouraging Jews to treat each other with respect and kindness overwhelmingly defeated.
Donald Trump, campaigning in Brooklyn on Yom Kippur, invites chasidim to bull roast, noting, “I’ll supply the bull.”
In the entertainment world, Miss Universe host Steve Harvey files for divorce, tells court he apologizes for mistakenly marrying the wrong woman.
Defiant comedian Bill Cosby plans showbiz comeback, offering free mixed drinks on Ladies Nights; threatens to sue anyone who doesn’t laugh at his jokes.
November: In Playboy interview, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump acknowledges he had first asked Cosby to be his running mate but is now pleased he chose Snooki, “my cute and constant campaign companion.” On election eve, Snooki gives birth to baby boy with huge head of blonde hair; Trump’s invisible wife angrily leaves home.
Trump is elected president in landslide, vows to rename executive mansion “Trump House, repeal women’s voting rights and declare all-out war on “bad guys everywhere.”
Millions of Americans plan mass emigration.
Canada overbooked. EU says, “We’ve got our hands full.” Bibi calls on U.S. Jews to make aliyah. “Plenty of room for you in the West Bank,” he says. Assad invites “every American but the Jews” to settle in Syria…
December: Americans awake from bad dream.
Lame-duck President Obama, quoting Gerald Ford after the Watergate scandal, tells nation: “Our long national nightmare is over.”
Though bipartisan congressional leaders beg him to stay on as president, Obama just smiles and says, “God bless us, every one.”
Editor’s Note: Rabbi David Wolpe is off this week. His Musings column will resume next week.