Editors Note: You guys all thought it was a joke when you first heard that the Mayan Long Calendar indicated the end of the world was scheduled for the second-to-last week in December. Well, it’s nearly here now, so start crossing stuff off your bucket list, and don’t bother doing any Christmas shopping this year. 

Look Forward to the End — December 21, 2012

Maybe we’ll be incinerated by a deadly solar flare, or an asteroid will scream in from deep space. A bizarre galactic alignment could reverse the Earth’s magnetic poles, or we might collide with the rogue planet Nibiru. Regardless, our days are numbered.

I was skeptical when I first heard that the world is ending on December 21, 2012. But when the History Channel started running Last-Days marathons, based on unimpeachable sources as diverse as the Mayan calendar, the Book of Revelation and the quatrains of Nostradamus, I had to concede that we’re unlikely to see 2013.

The biggest downside to this epiphany is never knowing whether the L.A. Lakers’ signing of all-star center Dwight Howard would be enough to propel them to another NBA championship. However, I’ve also realized there are other repercussions to the end of the world almost as important.

For one thing, we’ll never know what would have happened when America went over “the fiscal cliff” on January 1st. As of this writing, the election is still up for grabs, but neither party has shown a willingness to compromise, behave like adults or ask for any sacrifices from a self-absorbed electorate, so the 2012 lame-duck session of Congress is unlikely to do anything to avert this financial Armageddon.

Would our politicians’ fanatical partisanship have allowed mandatory sequestration and automatic tax hikes to throw us into a double-dip recession or even a depression? Or would the financial catastrophe many political pundits are predicting have fizzled, like a rerun of Y2K? Now we’ll never know.

I was also curious regarding what would happen if another Republican president started running up huge deficits to finance tax cuts for the wealthy. Would the GOP’s fiscal conservatives have flip-flopped back to their pre-Obama position, once again citing their patron saint of borrow and spend, Ronald Reagan, to posit that deficits don’t matter? And, if one of their own were running up all that debt, would the tea parties have disbanded?

Meanwhile, might the Democrats have flip-flopped back to their Bush-era condemnations of deficit spending? And would they have adopted the attitude proposed by Rush Limbaugh in 2009, and championed by GOP minority leader Mitch McConnell, that America’s economic failure is a small price to pay for preventing a newly elected and ideologically unacceptable president from being successful enough to be re-elected? Human nature being what it is, the answer seems obvious, but now we’ll never know.

And, with the election over, would Fox News’ 2013 New Year’s resolution have been to finally concede that it’s even more partisan and biased than MSNBC, and admit to being the GOP’s media wing? After working overtime on the Romney campaign, it would have been as silly for Fox to cling to that “fair and balanced” nonsense as it would for Bill O’Reilly to continue calling himself an “independent.” But now it’s all immaterial.

On a more global scale, I would have enjoyed finding out how the Iranian nuclear crisis played out. No president of either party has been able to deter Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and both candidates seemed clueless as to what to do next, beyond talking tough and waiting for the Israelis to do something about it. With no viable solution, we’re lucky it no longer matters.

On a more-cosmic scale, it’s disappointing that Curiosity, the Mars rover, won’t have time to discover whether there’d ever been life on the Red Planet. And it would have been nicer still if NASA could have found the remnants of intelligent life (especially since our own behavior makes the question of intelligent life on Earth so unsettled).

Also on a cosmic scale, I’m sorry to miss the chance to view what’s predicted to be one of the most spectacular comets in modern history. Had the December 21st apocalypse not rendered it superfluous, everyone from Christian fundamentalists to New Agers would have been pointing to Comet 2012 S1 as another sign of the End Times.

And finally, it’s a shame we’ll never know what a Romney presidency would have looked like. It’s now obvious that basing a campaign on a complete lack of convictions and claiming to be whatever your audience wants you to be at that moment is a viable strategy. It would have been interesting to see whether Mitt turned out to be the “severe conservative” he pretended to be during the GOP primaries or the “Massachusetts moderate” he pretended to be from the first debate onward.

After suffering through one of the most depressing presidential campaigns in recent memory, as well as the Northeast’s worst hurricane of this millennium, an asteroid or the planet Nibiru screaming toward us doesn’t sound as horrific as it once did. Still, it would have been nice to see whether the Giants could have won the Super Bowl again.

Click here to return to the Mark Drought home page.