If 2012 had been a customer in a bar, it would have been perfectly okay with me to have it kicked into the street. So my basic stand right now is not so much welcome to the new year as good riddance to the old one.
It was a year in which, among dozens of other things, political discourse sank to a new low. After the most embarrassing presidential election I can remember--an election in which I had a favorite, but only relatively speaking--the parties went back to Washington and immediately started all over again, tying the nation into knots. Honest to God, if I had my way, every American elected official would be (here's a theme emerging) booted into the street and replaced via a national lottery.
The lottery would bar all professional politicians from entering and would distribute tickets by mail to every American eighteen and older, and by sale in liquor stores and supermarkets. We would announce only after the results were made public that anyone who bought a ticket was instantly disqualified.
People who want power probably shouldn't be allowed to get it.
And my other country, Thailand, made Washington, D.C. look like a computer dating site. On December 5, the nation's revered king made a rare public appearance, and (to everyone's surprise, a speech), on his 85th birthday. To a nation in which the political parties are chewing holes in each other and people are killed daily due to the Muslim insurrection in the south, the king preached Buddhism on a personal level: "If Thai citizens still hold harmony in their hearts," he said, "there is hope that in whatever the situation, Thailand will surely get through it safely and with stability."
The next day, the party of the current prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, announced that her predecessor, Abhisit Vejjajiva, would be charged with murder for the deaths inflicted by security forces on the Red Shirt factions who demonstrated in Bangkok in 2010. Now, more than 80 demonstrators were killed, but to most Thais, charging a former prime minister with murder seemed a bit, well, stiff.
Okay, I'm grumbling to postpone the au revoir I don't want to make. This is my last regular blog on Murder Is Everywhere. It has gradually been made clear to me that I have been over-committed for the past year, to the point at which a book has collapsed on me and I'm still fighting to resuscitate it. I'm letting go of several commitments, and this blog is one of them.
I already regret this parting infinitely more than I regret the passing of 2012. I've loved writing here, and I've made deep friendships with my blog mates. I know Leighton, Cara, Yrsa, Stan, Michael and Jeffrey personally and Dan virtually, and have deep affection (and admiration) for all of them. And feel the same about the readers who have responded. I'll miss this place.
The best news is that I'll be replaced, beginning this coming Sunday (January 6) by a wonderful writer and a good friend, Lisa Brackmann. Lisa's first two books (both crackerjack), Rock Paper Tiger and Getaway, are set, respectively, in China and Mexico. You're going to love her as much as I do.
And I'll be back from time to time, if my hosts will allow it.
Au revoir, y'all.
Tim -- Sunday