We’ve never lived in such uncertain times. No one knows what life will be like next week, let alone this summer or next fall. One thing we do know: Life will be different – for every American.

Let me play Nostradamus, for a moment, by pretending that I’m reporting on Jan. 1, 2022. Feel free to disagree; your crystal ball is as clear as mine.

On the political front. Trump lost the 2020 election in a landslide, brought down by his delusional narcissistic response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The vast majority of voters concluded, rightly, that Trump possesses neither leadership qualities nor empathy; he cares only about himself, not for the average American. Mitch McConnell won in a close election, boosted by huge financial support from out-of state donors. Susan Collins lost in Maine, trashed by her tendency to toe the Trump/McConnell line on every important issue.

The Democrats won enough Senate races to take control of the Senate. Gridlock remains the order of the day, however, as politicians still play only to their respective bases in order to get reelected. That said, the Democratic majorities — led by President Joe Biden and Vice President Stacey Abrams — were able to reinstate many of the environmental regulations that the Trump administration scrapped in an effort to please coal producers and other large manufacturers. They also overturned the tax cuts for the wealthy passed by Trump and his GOP enablers. The anti-immigration rhetoric has quieted down. Relationships with our major allies in Europe and elsewhere have been strengthened. The push to eliminate the electoral college and elect a President by popular vote has never gained enough support.

President Biden enjoys a much better relationship with ‘the media” than President Trump had. Trump launched his own network called, no surprise, The Great American Network. He lured Sean Hannity and other Fox superstars to his new network, and the ratings of Fox New have tumbled as a result. Rush Limbaugh succumbed to cancer but other right-wing hosts remain to offer bile and blather to those who like this sort of fare. Eric Trump and his sister Ivanka are fighting over which one of them should run for president.

On the economic front, the major stock indexes have declined 45 percent from their highs in February 2020. They’ve begun to rebound slowly since a vaccine for the coronavirus was developed in October 2021. The current unemployment rate stands at an alarmingly high 13.8 percent, although that’s lower than the 21 percent unemployment rate reached at the worst point during the COVID-19 Depression. Housing prices are down 25 percent from February 2020. More locally, 20 percent of the businesses operating on Maine Street in Brunswick have closed down.

The birth rate hit new highs starting in December 2020, nine months after the country began shutting down. But so did the divorce rate and the number of suicides.

Colleges in the U.S. took various approaches as a result of the pandemic. Some colleges attempted to open in Fall 2020, but most of them suffered from the consequences, legal and otherwise. Colleges that chose to offer on-line courses in the fall faced extreme attrition rates, as large numbers of students opted for gap years. Colleges that chose to open in the winter (followed by second semesters in the following summer) fared somewhat better. Twenty percent of the nation’s colleges were forced to close down forever.

Despite all this negative financial news, America seems to be a kinder and gentler nation. More Americans are heeding the “I-am-my-brother’s-keeper” message. Young and old alike value their families and friends more than before the pandemic hit. Consumers, who remained wary after the country opened up for regular business, have begun to spend more freely. Church attendance at mainline Protestant churches is on the rise for the first time in decades. Attendance at evangelical churches, on the other hand, is on the decline as young evangelicals have been turned off by their elders’ obsession with banning abortion and same-sex marriage.The arts are more highly valued than during the Trump years.

There you have it. I could be way off in my predictions. Moreover, my views will no doubt change as the months ahead unfold. But these are my guesses as of this very moment. I look forward to hearing about what you see in the future.

David Treadwell, a Brunswick writer, welcomes commentary and suggestions for future “Just a Little Old” columns. [email protected]

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