If you have 20/20 (or better) vision, you probably don't even think about seeing -- unless you previously had worse vision. If your vision has declined over the years (as mine has), you probably wish for the times when you took your vision for granted.
That applies to more than vision; we often take all sorts of things for granted. To be grateful, we must first understand and appreciate the gifts that we have -- even gifts that have been given to us by God.
We often view our personal historical experience and changes as events that happened to us, that shaped us in one way or another. These historical events have made us who we are today.
Despite the many events that have shaped each and every one of us, when looking into the future, we typically see little change ahead, according to researchers Jordi Quoidbach, Daniel Gilbert and Timothy Wilson. They concluded that people view "the present as a watershed moment at which they have finally become the person that they will be for the rest of their lives."
The researchers called this belief "the end of history illusion." At the time they were questioned, study participants held the illusion that the changes they had witnessed were done; no more history was being made.
How do we know that we are often wrong in our predictions that the future will include no more additional changes? Just look at the last presidential election. If you look at the aggregate polling numbers for Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton, Clinton appeared to be leading during most of the race.
On election night, many could not believe that Trump was winning. While we might look back now and say that Nov. 8, 2016, was an unusual time in politics -- and this cycle, we will be back to normal -- what we should be thinking is this: How could it get even weirder?
Welcome to 2020, a presidential election year once again. Additionally, all members of the House are up for election, as are a third of U.S. senators and 11 governors. North Carolina, New Hampshire and Montana are toss-ups; Democrats should win Vermont, Delaware and Washington; Republicans should win West Virginia, Utah, North Dakota, Missouri and Indiana. Many of the state legislators who are picked this cycle will have a say in how the new congressional and state districts are redrawn based on the 2020 census results.
While President Donald J. Trump is a lock for the Republican presidential nomination, the Democratic nominee is up for grabs. This year, the process starts late with the Iowa caucuses being held on Feb. 3. The New Hampshire primary follows on Feb. 11; the Nevada caucuses are on Feb. 22, South Carolina's on Feb, 29.
On March 3, Super Tuesday includes Alabama, American Samoa, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont and Virginia. A week later, Idaho, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota, Ohio and Washington have their say in the process. The last primaries occur in June 2020.
While former Vice President Joe Biden has a lead among Democrats in national polls, the first few states will go to other contenders, and the shape of the race is still largely undefined. The Democratic convention will be held July 13-16 in Milwaukee. Imagine a scenario where there is no clear winner in the Democratic primary process; the convention becomes brokered; and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is brought in to unite the party and run against President Trump.
You say this is crazy and could never happen. But no one can predict the future with certainty.
The Republican convention will be held over a month later, from Aug. 24-27, in Charlotte, North Carolina. Just imagine the fun that President Trump will have if Clinton is the nominee. What we should expect is that 2020 will be even wilder than 2016 was -- and in ways that we might not even be able to anticipate.
So what should you do this political year? Don't pay attention to all of the personal attacks and reporting on the horse race (who is up in the polls by a percentage point or two). Instead, watch for the results of what the current administration accomplishes, and focus on the discussions of policies instead of personalities. Here's to a clear-eyed vision for 2020.