The presidential election stole headlines for most of the year but not for all the right reasons. The Republican primary featured a cast of candidates that focused on specific issues instead of the whole picture. After a series of endless debates, it was former Gov. Mitt Romney who crawled out of from beneath the GOP wrestling match to be declared the winner.
The only problem was that he hardly seemed to be the popular choice among Republicans. He was viewed with suspicion by voters perched on the fence who felt Romney lacked conviction, along with no road map of how he was going to deal with the nation’s economic woes.
President Barack Obama would have seemed, at least on paper, to be the favorite going into the November election. However, it appeared to many that he began to wobble and lose focus as the economy continued to sink. Complaints from even his followers is that he also was unable to give a passionate reason to vote for him again.
This despite the fact that he should be credited with helping to save the auto industry from collapse, gave the order that resulted in the killing of Osama bin Laden, and implemented a national health care plan. He struggled in the first debate against Romney and regained his footing in the last two encounters.
The race was close as expected but it became clear early on election night that Obama was going to win. While not a commanding vote total, Americans overall felt that Obama’s record of remaining steady and seemingly having a better pulse of the nations woes was the better alternative to Romney.
The Republican candidate, who was reportedly stunned at losing the election, preached entrepreneurs and the business leaders. But he provided no specifics of how he was going to create more jobs. He seemed intent on continuing tax breaks for the most wealthiest Americans while providing no specific programs to help people get back to work.
Perhaps Romney felt he could win by appealing to big business and forget about that other “47 percent.”
But while we survived the rhetoric of this election, the wounds from a series of mass shootings this past year will be always be connected to 2012. Shootings at schools in Minnesota and Oakland took place. Shooting deaths also took place at a Shik temple in Wisconsin.
Just recently, a gunman raced through a mall in Oregon resulting in a 54-year-old woman being shot and killed. She went to the mall to do her Christmas shopping.
And then we have Sandy Hook School, located in a serene Norman Rockwell setting in Connecticut. On Dec. 14, a deranged 20-year-old male shot and killed at close range 20 students, all 6 and 7 years old. Six more adults were also brutally murdered.
The gun control debate has simmered again. It’s time (it was actually time long ago) that some decisions have to be made regarding the purchase and availability of automatic weapons. An assault rifle than fires off 30 rounds in seconds without reloading is not necessary.
We did not even get to the weather. Storms raged all year with Hurricane Sandy causing lost lives and wrecked homes throughout New Jersey and New York.
And after all that Gene Siegel said he had enough.
Goodbye 2012. We’re glad to see you go.