Nearly 365 days have passed since the last year in review. After coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and the aftershocks throughout 2021, what did 2022 bring?
The first part of 2022 can’t be about anything other than Ukraine. After months of posturing, Russia launched an invasion of its neighbor to the west on Feb. 24. For the first time in the social media age a major country had launched a full-scale military invasion of another country. Condemnation was swift from the United States and allies around the world, rallying support for Ukraine and its president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy.
The invasion of Ukraine came on the heels of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing and the Chinese alliance with Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, signaled that the act of aggression by non-western powers may not be its last.
Images of Ukrainian cities bombarded with missiles and Russian ground forces moving into the country was shocking – but it was the Ukranian President’s defiance in the face of the invasion that would prove enduring.
Seeking to decapitate the nation’s government, Russia sent forces into the capital city of Kyiv to assassinate Zelenskyy. Offered a way out of the city by the United States, the president reportedly told them, “I need ammunition, not a ride,” displaying bravery the face of very real attempts on his life.
Millions of Ukrainians evacuated the country to Poland, the rest of Europe, and across the world and the brutality of Russia’s act of aggression continues to unfold. Yet as the invasion faded from the non-stop initial coverage, the resilience of Ukraine’s military and its people has continued. They have beat the large Russian army into a stalemate.
At home, the rise of inflation and the inability of government leaders to curb its effects is still a problem for millions of Americans. Since January 2021, a U.S. Senate report showed that inflation has cost households nearly $8,500 per year. This month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics ranks costs for food and energy at double-digit increases in the last 12 months. Yet despite those trends, Democrats in Washington, D.C. did not pay a political price for the economic hardships.
The inability of Republicans to unseat a Democratic incumbent in any U.S. Senate race allowed President Joe Biden’s party to secure a 51-49 majority in the chamber. U.S. House Republicans, meanwhile, did modestly better, winning 222 seats and they will lead the chamber once again in January.
Election results in North Carolina, meanwhile, was a red wave compared to most national results. Three-term Republican U.S. Rep. Ted Budd defeated former Democratic state Supreme Court Justice Cheri Beasley by a nearly four-point margin to hold the seat of retiring U.S. Sen. Richard Burr. Republicans also swept statewide judicial races for the second consecutive election cycle and will hold a 5-2 majority on the Supreme Court. The GOP also clinched a supermajority in the state Senate and will need just one Democratic state House member to vote with them for a “working supermajority” in the state House.
The election marked a defeat for Democratic judicial priorities following a year in which the outgoing 4-3 liberal majority played a major role in nearly every major issue in the state.
This year’s Supreme Court ordered a redraw of the state’s congressional map to ensure a 7-7 majority, authorized the spending of money from state coffers to satisfy its own Leandro ruling, and struck down yet another voter ID law passed by the General Assembly.
Any discussion of courts and 2022 wouldn’t be complete without the historic overturning of Roe v. Wade. On June 24, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the 1972 decision that provided federal protection over abortion and sent the decision back to the states to sort out.
Controversy began before the decision was announced as an unprecedented leak of a draft opinion in early May led to protests both at the Supreme Court and the homes of the justices. A man was arrested for intent to assassinate Justice Brett Kavanaugh in a story that largely went unmentioned by many mainstream media outlets.
As of this writing, the person who leaked the draft opinion is still not publicly known.
Another worldwide event altered the landscape of Great Britain as Queen Elizabeth II died on Sept. 8 in Scotland. Queen Elizabeth ruled for 70 years and 214 days, the longest of any British monarch. Her tenure was notable just as political chaos saw the United Kingdom cycle through three Prime Ministers this year.
This was also a tragic year for the city of Raleigh, where this newspaper is headquartered, and many are still struggling with the fragility of life – and how a few moments can cause unimaginable pain.
Wake County Sheriff’s Deputy Ned Byrd was murdered in August in southeastern Wake County by suspected illegal immigrants. Byrd was unfortunately not the only law enforcement officer shot and killed in the line of duty this year. The National Fraternal Order of Police called this year one of the most dangerous in recent history.
On Oct. 13, a teenager would kill five in the Hedingham neighborhood of northeast Raleigh, including an off-duty Raleigh police offer, and the subsequent manhunt and capture garnered national attention. Though mass shootings feel all too common, when it happens somewhere close, it feels different. Many in the Triangle have at one point or another walked on part of the Neuse River Greenway.
Raleigh’s latest tragedy occurred during what should have been a happy occasion. During the annual Raleigh Christmas Parade on Nov. 19, an 11 year-old girl was killed when she was hit by an out of control truck during a performance. The parade, which was being broadcast live, was canceled.
At times, it can feel as though the news of the day is overwhelming. Some years undisputedly have more tragedies than triumphs. What does a great life look like? We don’t have the answers, but we do our best to provide hope and truth, if you read The Word on page 2 each week. We believe He is in control. Going into a new year, that is the best news we can tell you.
We’ll see you in 2023!