TIME Immigration

How President Obama’s New Immigration Policy Is Going To Change My Life

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Extending Deferred Action beyond Dreamers is going to allow me and my parents not to live in fear anymore


For as long as I can remember, I knew that my parents were undocumented. Growing up in New York City, so many of the people around me were undocumented I didn’t really know what it meant.

But, as I got older, I started to figure it out. My parents would tell my siblings that we wouldn’t be able to fly to see our cousins in Florida or even take a bus to another state because they didn’t have a state-issued ID. I have always feared my parents getting stopped by the authorities and then getting deported. While on the train on my way to school throughout middle and high school, I would come up with contingency plans in case my parents got deported. I would ask myself: Who could I turn to for help with my younger siblings? What would I do if I wasn’t in the city?

When I left for Scripps College in August all the way in California (I was born and raised in NYC), my parents couldn’t even accompany me into the airport. My mom was terrified of going into the terminal for fear that someone would ask her for documentation. I went alone, four days before school started for the First Generation at Scripps program. It is a program that helps acclimate incoming freshmen who are the first in their family to attend college. It is comprised of a pre-orientation, where we learned about all the key administrative offices at school, and teaches students how to fend for themselves. After the program, real orientation began. When my roommates arrived with their parents in our triple, it was understandably awkward.

I have had to navigate going to college alone, since my parents haven’t been in the position to be there for me, at least physically. I couldn’t afford to fly home for both fall break and Thanksgiving, but I couldn’t tell my parents that I was devastated that I couldn’t see them. Instead I had to act like it was no big deal and that I was having a great time across the country, even though I was super homesick. Still, my parents have done the best they could, considering the circumstances. They were always on the phone with me, as I pulled all-nighters during finals week, encouraging me to do my best.

In November, when I heard President Obama issue an executive order that would help about 5 million undocumented people living in the United States come out of the shadows, I felt elated but I didn’t quite know how it would affect my family. I watched the announcement with friends that night, and a slew of thoughts went through my head as I heard what he was saying. My first thought was about the other people who wouldn’t benefit from the executive order because of the qualifications. However, my mentor called me later that night and told me what the Immigration Accountability Executive Action would mean for my family — my parents would be able to get Social Security numbers to get ID. I started to cry, and my mind raced with thoughts of what we would be able to do.

My parents came to the United States from Mexico in the early ’90s and met at church. My mom is the oldest of 11 while my dad is the oldest male in a family of six. Both of my parents came from poor families. To get a visa to come to the United States from Mexico you have to have an education, money, and land. My parents had none of those: They had limited education (my dad reached the seventh grade and my mom her freshman year of high school), no money, and no land, therefore they never had the opportunity to come here legally.

If my parents apply for President Obama’s program, they will be able to come to visit me at school and eventually come to my graduation. It will alleviate my fears of them being deported, since they will have temporary protection from that. My mom will be able to see her siblings who live in North Carolina and Florida. The last time she saw them was a decade ago.

With a temporary social security number and work permit, they will be able to get better jobs or even go back to school. My mom currently works as a housekeeper and volunteers at church. My dad will hopefully be able to get a license to sell fruits and vegetables around the city.

Still, even with the glimmer of hope from the executive order, it won’t be so easy to fix their situation. It will take time for them to save to pay the application fee, which many estimate will be around $500 per application. My parents barely make enough to survive.

I am lucky to have received a lot of financial aid. At school, I’m one of the students with the highest financial need. I have had to reduce my meal plan for my next semester to help pay for tuition. I work to help cover the bills in our one bedroom apartment while my parents pay the rent. How are my parents going to save enough money to pay for two applications? It might mean working a third job while in college so that my parents can focus on saving for the applications. I want them to apply as soon as possible to reduce the chances of them being able to get deported.

Since immigration is such a touchy topic, there has been a lot of criticism against IAEA, even a lawsuit. Some say that it is amnesty, it will increase welfare, undocumented people are getting a free ride, and that they won’t have to pay taxes.

These claims anger me because they are misinformed and basically thinly veiled prejudice. Recipients of the work permits will have to pay taxes, and we won’t be getting a free ride.

Still, I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity — we are one of the lucky families who is eligible to benefit from this executive order. In 2015, I hope my parents won’t fear walking by a police station or going through security at the airport anymore. I hope my mom will be able to reunite with her loved ones. And no more nightmares for me and my siblings of my parents being taken away!

Prisma Herrera is a student at Scripps College. This article originally appeared on xoJane.com.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Television

This Man Is Why Everyone on Downton Abbey Was Talking About Politics

Ramsay MacDonald
circa 1900: James Ramsay MacDonald (1866 - 1937), Scottish politician and Britain's first Labour prime minister Hulton Archive / Getty Images

Which real politician was making news back in 1924?

The first episode of the fifth season of Downton Abbey — which premiered for U.S. audiences on Sunday night — was, predictably, focused largely on the comings and goings of the suitors and staffers who populate the estate. But those characters, upstairs and down, were also concerned with someone who didn’t show up at all: Britain’s new Prime Minister, recently risen to power when the season kicks off in 1924.

But who is this new P.M., and why is he such a big deal?

The man in question is James Ramsay MacDonald, and he was Britain’s first-ever Labor (or ‘Labour,’ per the British spelling) Prime Minister. Early in 1924, the then-Conservative leaders in the House of Commons informed the king that, with the help of Liberal Party support, a Labor Party push for a no-confidence motion had succeeded. Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin resigned, along with his cabinet, and recommended MacDonald as his successor. The king agreed.

All of this was, at TIME noted back then, “the usual procedure of an outgoing Cabinet.” What was worth noting — and the reason why the folks at Downton would have been talking about the news more than usual — was MacDonald’s unusual personal background.

He was, as Lady Mary put it on the show, the son of a crofter (a farmhand), and as TIME put it in real life, “once a country yokel.” He studied and worked his way from a village to London and from manual labor to a political career. His pacifism got him shut out of the mainstream during World War I, but in 1922 he was reelected to the House. “The Times of London, says he is one of the most noteworthy of British Prime Ministers—an idealist and a pacifist guiding the country when idealism and pacifism are not the ruling passion of the world,” TIME reported in the Feb. 4, 1924, issue. “Henry William Massingham, famed Liberal editor of London, summed up Macdonald thus: ‘Not eloquent, but a statesman. A man of principle, but not a fanatic. Elastic without being supple. A character as stainless as Burke or Gladstone.'”

Though the makeup of Parliament meant that the left-leaning and once-radical MacDonald couldn’t do anything too extreme — the Labor party still needed the support of the Liberal party to maintain a majority over the Conservative party — he still represented a major shift in British political life. Just as Downton Abbey‘s Mr. Carson remarks again and again, the old ways were changing. Rigid lines between the classes had begun to blur, and it was possible for the first time for a man of modest background to exert power over politicians from wealthy and middle-class backgrounds.

The following year, TIME published a round-up of the Prime Ministers who had resided at No. 10 Downing Street since it was established as the official home of the office in 1735, and the difference was made clear. “Twenty-five were peers or the sons of peers, 8 were country gentlemen or members of well-connected families, 5 came from the so-called middleclass: Addington, son of a doctor; Disraeli, grandson of a merchant; Gladstone, son of a shipowner; Asquith, son of a manufacturer; George, son of an itinerant teacher,” the summary read. “The remaining one, Mr. Ramsay MacDonald, was born in the humblest circumstances, his relatives being fishers and farm hands.”

And, though nobody on Downton Abbey mentioned it, that political shift in 1924 brought change in more ways than one. McDonald’s new government included a new Parliamentary Secretary of the Ministry of Labor. Her name was Margaret Bondfield, and she was the first woman in British history to become a cabinet minister.

Read TIME’s original coverage of MacDonald’s rise to power, here in the TIME Vault: Advent of Laborism

TIME People

Sarah Palin Defends Her Son: ‘At Least Trig Didn’t Eat the Dog’

Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin speaks at the 2014 Values Voter Summit Sept. 26, 2014 in Washington, DC. Mark Wilson—Getty Images

PETA called Palin a "bizarrely callous woman"

A Facebook photograph of Sarah Palin’s son standing on a dog to reach the kitchen sink has led to a heated online exchange between animal rights activists and the politician-turned-reality-TV-star.

Just a day after Palin posted a series of photos of her six-year-old son Trig standing on a dog, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals released a statement calling Palin a “bizarrely callous woman.”

“PETA simply believes that people shouldn’t step on dogs, and judging by the reaction that we’ve seen to Sarah Palin’s Instagram photo, we’re far from alone in that belief,” said Ingrid Newkirk, president of PETA, according to the Associated Press.

Chill. At least Trig didn’t eat the dog,” Palin fired back in a lengthy Facebook post in reference to President Barack Obama’s admission that he ate dog as a child in Indonesia.

Palin also pointed out that Ellen DeGeneres shared a photo of a young girl using a dog to reach a bathroom sink last year without any reaction from PETA. DeGeneres was the advocacy organization’s 2009 woman of the year.

TIME politics

Pro-Choice Mario Cuomo Was Still A Catholic Politician

attends the 6Th Annual Exploring the Arts Gala hosted by Tony Bennett and Susan Benedetto at Cipriani 42nd Street on October 4, 2012 in New York City.
Cuomo attends the 6th Annual Exploring the Arts Gala hosted by Tony Bennett and Susan Benedetto at Cipriani 42nd Street on October 4, 2012 in New York City. Andrew H. Walker—2012 Getty Images

Christopher Hale is a senior fellow at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and the co-founder of Millennial.

Despite his stance on abortion, the Governor's career was closely aligned with the Church's social justice tradition

People across the nation are mourning the death of Mario Cuomo, the passionate Italian-American Catholic who served as the governor of New York from 1983-1994.

Cuomo’s political career was deeply formed by his Catholic faith. During his famous 1984 speech at the University of Notre Dame, he said as much: “The Catholic Church is my spiritual home. My heart is there, and my hope.”

But Cuomo’s relationship with the Church in the United States, particularly its bishops, was at times strained, especially over the issue of legalized abortion. At Notre Dame and elsewhere, Cuomo maintained that while he was personally opposed to abortion, he didn’t want to make it illegal in the United States.

I disagree with him on this. As I said during last year’s March for Life, because “progressives believe that society must continually extend its embrace to all persons, no matter who they are…protecting the lives of unborn children should be at the heart of the progressive agenda.”

And despite Pope Francis’s call last year to extend the conversation beyond abortion, same-sex marriage, and contraception, we should make no mistake: the Bishop of Rome opposes legalized abortion. As recently as Christmas Day, he said abortion kills children “before they ever see the light of day, deprived of the generous love of their parents and buried in the selfishness of a culture that does not love life.”

But Governor Cuomo’s pro-choice stance can’t be a single litmus test to measure his effectiveness as a Catholic politician. Clearly, his public service addressed many issues at the heart of the faith’s social justice tradition. In particular, he tried hard to transform the Democratic Party from a bourqeosis group concerned with the interests of social elites to a party genuinely concerned about the state of society, the struggles of working men and women, and the lives of the poor.

During the 1984 Democratic National Convention, Cuomo said that President Reagan’s trickle-down economics was reducing his “city shining on a hill” to a “Tale of Two Cities.”

“A shining city is perhaps all the President sees from the portico of the White House and the veranda of his ranch, where everyone seems to be doing well. But there’s another city; there’s another part to the shining the city; the part where some people can’t pay their mortgages, and most young people can’t afford one; where students can’t afford the education they need, and middle-class parents watch the dreams they hold for their children evaporate.”

Nearly 30 years later, Pope Francis offered the same critique:

“Some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting.”

While Cuomo had a difficult relationship with New York Cardinal John O’Connor, Cuomo’s son and New York’s current governor Andrew Cuomo maintains a cordial relationship with New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan. But more remarkable is the relationship between Dolan and current New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.

In 2014, Cardinal Dolan worked hand-in-hand with the pro-choice de Blasio–who is often described as a lapsed-Catholic–on several shared issues of concerns. During last month’s controversy in the wake of the assassination of two New York City police officers, Cardinal Dolan gave an impassioned appeal for peace from the pulpit on the Sunday before Christmas. The politically savvy prelate has so far been able to broker a narrow path of peace between Mayor de Blasio, the police force, and the African-American community.

This relationship shows the way that the Church and pro-choice politicians can work together for social change. Mario Cuomo, while disagreeing with the Church on abortion, enacted policies that helped reversed decades-long economic stagnation in New York and pursued policies that, while lifting up the entire state’s economy, particularly addressing the flight of those most excluded. Today many pro-choice politicians are doing the same. While the Church can never endorse their position on abortion, we must never tire of working with them to create a society where pregnant women are supported, poor mothers are protected, and the scourge of abortion disappears.

Christopher Hale is a senior fellow at Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and the co-founder of Millennial. He helped lead national Catholic outreach for President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME conflict

How Napoleon Nearly Became a U.S. Citizen

Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte, French general and Emperor. From Harmsworth, History of the World, published in London, 1909 Print Collector / Getty Images

One of the greatest “What Ifs” of history

History News Network

This post is in partnership with the History News Network, the website that puts the news into historical perspective. The article below was originally published at HNN.

At 8am on July 3, 1815, a modest yellow carriage trundled into the port of Rochefort on the French Atlantic coast. It turned into the courtyard of the Marine Prefecture, and a small, stout man in a green overcoat climbed out. It was Napoleon Bonaparte, exhausted after four days on the road from Paris. Eleven days before, he had abdicated for the second time, following his final defeat at Waterloo. He spent his last fortnight in France in the port, pondering how best to save his career, and possibly his life.

Napoleon’s two weeks at Rochefort are generally forgotten, sandwiched as they are between the last two great events of his life – Waterloo and his departure for St Helena. The received opinion is that one was the inevitable consequence of the other. In fact, this is not the case. After the collapse of his last bid for power in France, there were several courses open to Napoleon, and the most logical one was escape to the USA. His intention in making for Rochefort in the first place was to take ship there across the Atlantic, and he very nearly did. Had he reached America, his own history, and conceivably that of the world, might have turned out very differently.

What made flight to the USA such an attractive option for Napoleon? First of all, it was one of the few places left in the world where he could live as a free man. All the European powers had declared him an outlaw. If they captured him, his fate would be very uncertain. He might be allowed to depart to a neutral country, or be placed instead under some form of house arrest; at worst, he might be executed. The USA, on the other hand, had never been his enemy; on the contrary, it had recently been at war with his own greatest opponent, Britain. On a deeper, ideological, level, it made sense as Napoleon’s destination. It was a new country, born of a revolution that had helped inspire the French Revolution of which Napoleon himself was the heir. The symbolism of the greatest adversary of Europe’s old order seeking refuge in the New World would have been unmissable.

The USA also offered Napoleon new opportunities as well as safety from danger. On its southern border lay the vast territories of Central and South America, currently in the throes of revolution against Spain, and a tempting field of action for an unemployed military genius. Significantly, Napoleon spent much of his last days in Paris before leaving for Rochefort reading the explorer and naturalist Alexander von Humboldt’s Voyage to the Equinoctial Regions of the New Continent, with its detailed descriptions of Mexico, Venezuela and Peru. Napoleon spoke of travelling there simply as a private citizen pursuing scientific research, but his listeners suspected otherwise; the banker Jacques Laffitte, whom he asked to arrange the journey, urged him to make himself Emperor of Mexico.

These speculations, however, lost Napoleon valuable time. The British government had already established a naval blockade of the French Atlantic ports, and when Napoleon arrived in Rochefort, he found the 74-gun HMS Bellerophon stationed outside the harbour. This made his position more difficult, but by no means hopeless. The French provisional government that had succeeded him had promised to request passports from the British for him and his suite to enable an open departure. If these were refused, he could still make a clandestine escape, hidden on a boat that could slip past the British ships.

On 4th July, appropriately, Napoleon convened a naval council in Rochefort to decide how best to reach the USA. It concluded that the blockade could not be broken by force, but could be eluded by stealth. Yet instead of making a bold decision, as he would have done just a few years before, Napoleon dithered for six days. Why was this? Probably because he dreaded the humiliation of being captured. He had a point. One of the escape plans involved hiding him in a large brandy-cask; discovery in this inglorious position would have held him up to ridicule. So Napoleon hung on in the increasingly illusory hope of passports and a dignified departure, while all the time the net closed around him.

This state of limbo ended on July 9, when a letter arrived from the provisional government ordering Napoleon to leave France within 24 hours. Napoleon was now forced to take action. With no word of passports from Paris, he sent a deputation to the Bellerophon hoping that they had been delivered directly there. The ship’s commander, Captain Maitland, had no passports, and made it clear that if Napoleon gave himself up, he would be taken directly to England.

The alternatives were now stark: unconditional surrender or a secret escape. At the eleventh hour, Napoleon opted for flight. A scheme was devised: on the night of July 13-14 he and a few companions would board a lugger that would sail close to the coast, beyond the reach of the Bellerophon, to a merchant ship anchored off La Rochelle, which would then take him to America. Meanwhile, Napoleon’s elder brother Joseph, the ex-King of Spain, who had arrived a few days before in Rochefort and who resembled him closely, would impersonate him to throw pursuers off the scent.

Then, at midnight on July 13, just as he was about to set off, Napoleon changed his mind. Why he did so will always remain mysterious. He may have had scruples about leaving his entourage behind to an uncertain fate, or his fear of capture may have resurfaced. He may simply have been exhausted and unable to go any further. Whatever the cause, he called off the plan. At 10am on July 15 he surrendered instead to Maitland, hoping he would be granted a place of retirement in England. He was not; three months later, he was on St Helena.

Napoleon’s attempt to reach the USA is one of the great ‘what ifs’ of history. The secret escape he abandoned on July 13-14 was entirely feasible; his brother Joseph embarked clandestinely at a nearby port ten days later, got to America with no difficulty, and lived comfortably in New Jersey for fifteen years. Had Napoleon followed Joseph’s example, he too might have opted for a tranquil retirement – or not. In an early essay in counterfactual history, published in 1931 and entitled “If Napoleon had escaped to America,” the eminent British historian HAL Fisher depicted Napoleon disembarking in New York, then going on to liberate South America before drowning at sea on a final expedition to conquer India. This may seem fanciful, but with Napoleon the fantastic had a habit of becoming reality.

Munro Price is Professor of Modern European History at Bradford University. His books include “The Perilous Crown: France between Revolutions”; “The Fall of the French Monarchy”; and “Preserving The Monarchy: The Comte de Vergennes, 1774-1787.” His latest book is “Napoleon: The End of Glory.”

TIME Germany

German Neo-Nazis Embrace Vegan Cooking, Techno Music, Stylish Clothes

Far-right extremists recently launched a "Vegan Cooking Channel" on YouTube

(MUNICH, Germany) — Neo-Nazis are keeping their black combat boots and bomber jackets in the closet as they try to force their way into mainstream German society.

Security officials say many young fascists are adopting more stylish and less intimidating images, with some branded “nipsters” after embracing hipster-style clothing as well as techno and hip hop music.

Far-right extremists even recently launched a “Vegan Cooking Channel” on YouTube featuring masked young men preparing simple recipes and providing household tips.

“If the young people don’t find skinhead types attractive, then they [the neo-Nazis] will simply die out, so they have to find something new,” said Daniel Koehler, an expert on radicalization…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News


Big Idea 2015: It’s Time for Political Leaders to Work Together

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Adam Goldstein is President and & COO of Royal Caribbean Cruises.

Let’s agree to make progress on each of these five points during 2015 and in return we can continue to fight about everything else as usual

I believe the topic for this month is the one big fantasy for 2015 (well, something like that). So here it is: my idea is that our political leaders actually work together to address the nation’s challenges. As opposed to elected officials acting as if parties that alternate winning by a small margin every two years always have a mandate to have things their own way.

So let’s willingly suspend disbelief for a moment or two and imagine that in 2015, a sudden surge in bipartisan spirit will enable the United States to:

  • Recommit to educating our children so we remain competitive in the world economy for decades to come
  • Invest in our failing infrastructure so that in addition to preserving our bridges, roads and buildings for the long term we will promote employment for the short term
  • Pass budgets, manage debt ceilings and fund essential programs without histrionics and embarrassing brinksmanship that reduces the world’s respect for our principles of democracy
  • Take advantage of an unforeseen window of opportunity that lower energy prices and greater domestic production have afforded us to reduce our dependence on oil, especially imported oil
  • Motivate job creation by businesses both large and small to spur economic growth

What idea could produce such a far-fetched outcome? In a word, leadership. That is the missing element between fantasy and reality. As long we have a two party political system where each side believes it has all of the right answers and the other side has all of the wrong answers, the gap persists. But my fantasy need only stretch so far. Let’s agree to make progress on each of the above five points during 2015 and in return we can continue to fight like cats and dogs about everything else as per usual. If we achieve this limited but essential success next year, then let’s pick five more areas to cooperate on in 2016. Oh, sorry, that’s a Presidential election year. Maybe we’ll just shoot for odd numbered years until we establish a favorable trend.

For those of you who find this “idea” of mine utterly unrealistic to the point of absurdity, please be advised that this is only my second most outlandish fantasy for 2015. My first, which I did not have the guts to write about, is that the Philadelphia Eagles will win the Super Bowl next year. It’s a privilege to write for LinkedIn and I didn’t want to risk my readership writing about something that could never happen.

This Influencer post originally appeared on LinkedIn. Adam Goldstein shares his thoughts as part of LinkedIn’s Influencer series, “Big Ideas 2015” in which the brightest minds in business blog on LinkedIn about their predictions on ideas and trends that will shape 2015. LinkedIn Editor Amy Chen provides an overview of the 70+ Influencers that tackled this subject as part of the package. Follow Adam Goldstein and insights from other top minds in business on LinkedIn.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME society

A Few Forecasts on the Defining Questions of 2015

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Andrés Martinez is editorial director of Zócalo Public Square, for which he writes the Trade Winds column.

Be on the lookout for the unexpected shocks

My friend Greg long ago convinced me that instead of a laundry list of resolutions, what we really need every New Year is just one catch-all aspirational slogan, more likely to be remembered past January. Like “Find the fix in ’06.” When I crowd-sourced the challenge of a slogan for this new year, a wise 10-year-old I know came up with, “See the unseen in ’15.”

I like it because it is both a timeless exhortation – to expand one’s horizons – and a particularly timely one. The year 2015 – the far-away year Marty McFly travels to in the 1980s classic Back to the Future — is shaping up, ironically, to be a year when the reassuringly familiar reasserts itself. Such mainstays as the Bush-versus-Clinton dynastic feud, the Star Wars saga, interest rates, U.S. power around the world, the Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers, and the telephone all are poised to make a comeback this year. But don’t trust me: Grab a half-dozen Post-it notes and make a few forecasts of your own on the defining questions of 2015.

Before going any further, however, I realize my last comeback suggestion might seem absurd: that the phone, used as such, as in the lost art of dialing and talking, is back. But the hacking of Sony in late 2014 may prove a tipping point forcing people in many different workplaces to avoid putting certain things in writing. “Call me” may turn out to be among the most emailed words in 2015, shedding their once ominous overtones to become shorthand for, “I have something juicy to say about this, but I would be crazy to write it.” Here’s an interesting forecast close to home: Write on your first Post-it whether you think you will spend more or less time talking on your phone in 2015 than in 2014 (and figure it out at year’s end).

In politics, 2015 is shaping up to be a throwback year as Jeb Bush and Hillary Clinton explore, and likely announce, their 2016 presidential bids. Will Bush or Mitt Romney or someone less aligned with the party’s business wing (Rand Paul, Ted Cruz?) be ahead in the GOP’s polls as 2015 comes to a close, on the eve of primary season? Write down your prediction (eschewing email for obvious reasons). And, if it is Bush riding high, will the dynastic hue of the contest affect how voters view Clinton?

The appeal of the familiar is understandable: The country has had a hard time settling into a semblance of normalcy pretty much since the start of this millennium, buffeted by a series of booms and busts, not to mention wars. Now the Federal Reserve, the institution wielding the greatest (if underappreciated) power over our financial affairs, is coaxing us to be OK with going back to normal. 2015 is when the Fed plans to put an end to its emergency measure of keeping the important benchmark interest rate it charges financial institutions at essentially zero. One defining story line for the year is whether this is seen as a vote of confidence in the economy, or whether it spooks markets addicted to artificial stimulation. Use a third Post-it note to guess whether the Dow Industrials Average will crack 20,000 and end 2015 above that level, which is slightly more than 10 percent higher than it is today.

In either case, the United States will look like a safe haven compared to much of the world. Our lead in all aspects of information technology keeps growing. We’re experiencing a manufacturing renaissance. We are well on our way to becoming one of the world’s lowest-cost (and self-sufficient) energy producers. 2014 started with a barrel of oil costing some $20 more than a share of Apple. The year closed with a surging share of Apple costing almost twice as much as a plummeting barrel of oil ($114 to $60). Go ahead and forecast on your fourth Post-it which of these two (Apple share or barrel of oil) will cost more at the end of 2015, and what the spread will be.

It should become clearer in the coming year that America has gotten its mojo back. It isn’t only our economic prowess. There’s also a renewed acceptance of American power and influence in much of the world, courtesy of Vladimir Putin’s antics, China’s extraterritorial assertiveness, the implosion of the anti-American left in Latin America, and all the global challenges – climate change, pandemics like Ebola, the persistence of radical Islamist terrorism – that still require U.S leadership.

This desire on the part of many countries for closer ties, coupled with America’s renewed economic confidence and domestic political trends, might make possible an ambitious trans-Pacific trade deal. And that would signal to the world that America is no longer stuck in the Middle East. On your fifth Post-it forecast a ranking of Iraq, Ukraine, Mexico, and China, according to the number of times each is mentioned in 2015 in The New York Times.

Meanwhile, information technologies continue to empower us. But now the revolution turns inward, as the next frontier of the Information Age that brought the outside world to our fingertips – the next great unseen that we will see – will be within ourselves. 2015 will be the year of the iWatch and other tracking and diagnostic technologies – some wearable, some in your medicine cabinet, others like cheaper, faster and less intrusive blood tests at the nearby drugstore – that will allow us to acquire unprecedented self-knowledge.

This will keep the topic of inequality alive, as we talk about how such technologies create a new “digital divide.” I don’t have a clever forecasting prompt here for your last Post-it, but rather a question worth jotting down and contemplating: What does it mean for a society to have some people walking around with sophisticated dashboards measuring their well-being, while many others don’t, and remain in the dark? That seems qualitatively different than having the divide being defined around one’s access to knowledge of China or finances.

As bullish as I am on 2015, I should caution readers that I am usually optimistic at the start of every new year. It must be a personal flaw. And that’s why “See the unseen in 2015” is a perfect personal slogan, and not just as an exhortation to climb a mountain or go on safari or avail myself of these self-tracking technologies. The slogan is an antidote to my own complacency, a cautionary admonition to be on the lookout for the unexpected shocks that can upset my rosy scenarios.

After all, no one has ever said that, when it looked like nothing could go wrong, nothing went wrong. Happy New Year.

Andrés Martinez is editorial director of Zocalo Public Square, for which he writes the Trade Winds column. He is also a professor of journalism at Arizona State University. He wrote this for Zocalo Public Square. Zocalo Public Square is a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME 2016 presidential election

5 Things Hillary Clinton Needs To Work Out Before She Runs For President

The former Secretary of State leads the list of prospective Democratic candidates

WASHINGTON — A still undeclared candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton sits atop the prospective field of Democratic presidential candidates for 2016. But as Clinton has said before, if she runs again, she’ll work as hard as any underdog.

Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid stumbled, undermined by anti-war activists who opposed her vote to authorize the Iraq war, infighting among her staff and a large entourage that made it difficult for her to connect with voters on a one-on-one basis.

How she attempts to address those deficiencies — assuming she runs for president, as expected — will be a big part of Clinton’s efforts next year. Here’s a look at five things to watch from Clinton in 2015.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Speculation about the timing of Clinton’s announcement has been rampant. Some Democrats wanted her to make it official after the party’s dreadful midterm elections. Clinton has scheduled some paid speeches into March, raising the possibility that she will hold off until spring. Democratic insiders expect a different approach this time — recall her January 2007 video declaring, “I’m in to win” — that harnesses the grassroots activists sowed by outside super PACs and allows her to make a big splash in online fundraising. “All of these supporters are a ready-made asset, eager to help promote her message and to stand by her in what we can safely expect to be a relentless, even unprecedented, swamp of negativity from her opponents,” said Tracy Sefl, an adviser to Ready for Hillary.

RATIONALE: Clinton has said anyone who runs for president needs to have a specific agenda and have a reason to run. She offered hints at what her rationale might be during the fall campaign, advocating for middle-class economic prosperity, paid leave for working mothers and a hike in the minimum wage. The party’s liberal wing will look for signs that she might offer a brand of economic populism that has made them gravitate to Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, who says she’s not running in 2016.

OBAMA: Where Clinton embraces the president’s agenda, and where she seeks to separate herself from him, will be closely scrutinized. Obama was a liability for many Democrats during the 2014 midterm elections and saw his approval ratings sink during the year. Clinton will need to remain loyal enough to the president to maintain his voting coalition while displaying enough independence to appeal to those who have grown weary of Obama. Succeeding a two-term president in your own party is never easy.

TEAM: How Clinton assembles a campaign team could be instructive of what she’s learned since 2008. Back then, her campaign was beset by internal tensions and fights over strategy. This time, Clinton will have her pick of the party’s top talent and Democrats expect her to build upon the technical know-how of the Obama campaigns. White House adviser John Podesta, a former Bill Clinton chief of staff, could serve in a senior role. Her team could include Clinton veterans like Robby Mook, who ran Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s 2013 race; Ace Smith, who advised California Gov. Jerry Brown’s re-election this year; and Stephanie Schriock, the president of Democratic fundraising power EMILY’s List. Guy Cecil, who led the Senate Democrats’ campaign arm, said in a statement first reported by Politico last week that he was taking himself out of the running for a top campaign job.

GETTING OUT OF THE BUBBLE: Clinton often faced criticism in 2007 and 2008 that her large entourage and Secret Service protection made her unapproachable. Some of her campaign trips this fall included off-schedule stops at restaurants and coffee shops. But Clinton has yet to interact with voters in a personal way that remains common in early states like Iowa and New Hampshire. “That is now her greatest challenge: to get into the field and be with the people who form the storyline of her narrative about women and America’s economy,” wrote California Democratic strategist Karen Skelton, a former political aide in Bill Clinton’s White House. She suggested the former first lady’s team “figure out how to use this time to allow her to go back to a stripped-down version of her life.”

TIME Politicians

Hillary Clinton Is Named America’s ‘Most Admired Woman’

The presidential contender beat out Oprah

Americans named Hillary Clinton the woman they admire most of anywhere in the world, a new poll found, for the 17th time in 18 years.

When Gallup asked a random sampling of Americans who is the living female they admire most, 12% named Clinton. The former Secretary of State was followed by Oprah Winfrey at 8% and Pakistani education activist Malala Yousafazi at 5%.


Obama was named the most admired man, garnering 19% of votes.

The presidential contender held the top women’s spot every year between 1997 and 2014 except following the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001, when the title was awarded to Laura Bush. Clinton also held the designation when she was First Lady in 1993 and 1994.

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