Now that we've come to the end of it, perhaps it is time to take a glance back at some of the profound and not so profound statements made in 2015 by the famous, infamous, and the obscure.
January: Steve Emerson, who describes himself as, "a leading expert on Islamic extremism," went on Fox News and said, "Birmingham, England is totally Muslim. Non Muslims won't go there." His shocked Fox host responded with, "You know Steve that sounds like a caliphate within a country." Unfortunately for both of them the latest British census shows Birmingham is 22% Muslim and 78%non Muslim. British Prime Minister, David Cameron said of Mr. Emerson, "This guy is clearly a complete idiot."
February: Mississippi state representative Gene Alday explained his opposition to additional education funding this way, "I come from a town where all the blacks are getting food stamps and what I like to call crazy welfare checks. They don't work." After the shit hit the fan Mr. Alday first said he'd been taken out of context, then that he thought he was speaking, "off the record." He went on to assure everyone, "I'm not a racist."
March: In order to prove such vile nonsense isn't confined to the Mississippi outback, a video emerged on line which showed a bus load of University of Oklahoma fraternity members singing to their dates a little ditty whose lyrics were, "There will never be a n****r in SAE, there will never be a n****r in SAE/You can hang him in a tree, but he'll never sign with me/There will never be a n****r in SAE." In response to the impromptu serenade, school president David Boren kicked the fraternity off campus and the football team went on a three day walkout from spring practice.
April: At a Maricopa County, AZ republican dinner, the esteemed psychiatrist, Ted Nugent spoke to the audience about U.S. military veterans. He said, "Here's your job republican party, 20 to 25 of those guys kill themselves every day and they haven't told you why and they haven't told anyone else, but they told me why; because the commander in chief is the enemy."
May: Texas Governor Greg Abbott issued a dark warning about the pending multi state military exercise named Jade Helm. According to Abbott the exercise might just be a ruse which would give the military a leg up on establishing martial law and begin a crackdown on, "political prisoners." He ordered the Texas National Guard to keep an eye on the federal troops just in case they tried any funny business.
June: After Reverend Clementa Pickney and eight of his congregation were murdered by a foul little racist, NRA board member, Charles Cotton said of the minister--who also served in the South Carolina legislature--"And he voted against concealed carry. Eight of his church members, who might be alive if he expressly allowed members to carry handguns in church are dead. Innocent people died because of his position on a political issue." It was a statement so cold blooded and cruel the NRA issued a statement saying its board members don't speak for the organization.
July: Back in Texas, on the eve of Jade Helm, the citizens of Bastrop were in a panic. Wild rumors of secret detention centers being set up in abandoned Wal-Marts and hordes of invading U.N. troops were flying. Helping fan the flames, martial arts expert turned actor Chuck Norris said, "The U.S. government says it's just a training exercise. But I'm not sure the term 'just' has any reference to reality when the government uses it." The local GOP chair assured those gathered at a town hall meeting there would be groups of armed people patrolling the streets to protect the city and its citizens. They must have done their job, because Bastrop still stands long after the exercise ended.
August: Conservative columnist, George Will wrote of Donald Trump, "Trump promises that constitutional arrangements need be no impediment to the leader's savvy management and iron will." He went on to say Trump's supporters saw him as a means to, "...turn the government into a triumph of the leader's will." The column appeared well before Mr. Trump called for a ban of all Muslims entering the country and a national Muslim data base of those already here. It was the first published op-ed piece to use language which, at least subtlety, linked Trump and his fans to Hitler and the Nazis.
September: Kim Davis, the Rowan County, KY clerk--who has been married three times and had two children out of wedlock--went to jail for refusing to sign off on the marriage licenses of gay couples, because, according to her, it was immoral. Presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz rushed to her aid and, not coincidentally, to the gathered media outside the local courthouse. Huckabee, playing to the crowd, said, "We must end the criminalization of Christianity. What a world where Hillary Clinton isn't in jail, but Kim Davis is."
October: After a mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, OR, local gun store owner, Candi Kinney summed up the collective American psyche perfectly when she told a reporter, "There's always a rush after a big shooting."
November: A self proclaimed evangelist and social media personality, Joshua Feuerstien became incensed over this year's Starbuck's holiday coffee cup design. He went on Facebook and raged, "Starbucks removed Christmas from their cups because they hate Jesus." Fox News agreed and took it further by bitterly complaining the holiday decorations in an upstate New York shopping mall had neither a tree, or any other traditional Christmas symbols.
December: A photo of a street demonstration in Dearborn, MI surfaced on line after the deadly terrorist attack in San Bernadino, CA. The caption beneath it read, "This is Dearborn, MI after the radical Islamic attacks in California. These are ISIS flags and supporters, folks, but the media hasn't reported it because of political correctness." The flags weren't ISIS flags and the people in the photo were demonstrating against ISIS, not for it, as was clearly evidenced by a sign a couple of them were carrying.
Yes, it has been strange year and 2016 won't be any better. The insane frenzy of a full blown presidential campaign guarantees us that.
Given what has gone on and what will--and thanks to the Orange Bowl game later this afternoon--is it any wonder that, ladies and gentlemen, the bar is now open.
sic vita est.