A curious bystander

Megan Chrisler, Staff Writer

The New Year is here, and with it comes plenty of political events to get excited (or frustrated) over. As you prepare for and plan out the semester, whether it’s looking forward to concerts, shows or graduation, keep this political calendar in your agenda. After all, Washington never fails to entertain its audience.

Health plans under the Affordable Care Act have already begun. Despite some delays because of the website failures, enrollment is still due by March 31. Enrollment for 2015 has been pushed back until after 2014 elections are over. Criticism of the roll out of the landmark legislation has been rampant, and some say it will only continue into the new year (Republicans hope so, anyway). One problem may be the Keep Your Health Plan Act, which allows people to keep their individual healthcare coverage that covers the most minimum requirements of Obamacare. Since it only covers the most basic standards, there may be changes to the law to encourage plans that cover more, which will most likely result in worse plans. But don’t worry; the issues of Obamacare don’t matter for Millikin students, because the law doesn’t help healthy young people anyway.

In February, Washington will once again be staging its famous budget showdown. What Congress couldn’t agree on in October will still not be agreed upon during the month of love, when the good old boys club will put off today what they can do tomorrow. A government shutdown may be less likely this round, but it sure doesn’t mean there won’t be some good bickering and finger-pointing, not to mention Republican-sponsored spending cuts on their arch nemesis, Obamacare.

This past year was a good one for gay rights activists, even in this great state of Illinois; 2014 will surely be the same. There are still about a dozen states left to legalize gay marriage, and most, if not all, are expected to do so in the next two years. After Illinois legalized it in November, it was reported that Hawaii was to follow suit. There is still some bias to overcome, but hopefully the Winter Olympics will help that. Although Russia has verbally denied its homosexuality, its policies say something different, and the focus on Moscow may heighten awareness for gay rights.

Not to get ahead of myself, but no one can ignore the looming 2014 Congress elections in November. Statistically, most of the Millikin population will probably not vote (the youth are notoriously resistant to the practice). However, you can’t complain if you don’t even attempt to participate. So while you’re writing papers this semester and cramming for tests, don’t forget to study up on the people who will screw you over. Even if you don’t change anything, you’ll at least sound smart in front of your friends.

This is only the tip of the iceberg, and already 2014 is looking to be an interesting political year (but, then again, they all are). So break out the campaign buttons, turn on NPR and let the show begin.