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CARROLL: Did anyone see this coming?
David Carroll
David Carroll is a news anchor for WRCB in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Watching TV in the classic sitcom days, rarely a week would go by without some befuddled Dad (like Archie Bunker, Howard Cunningham, or Al Bundy) ending a scene by saying, “Well, now I’ve seen EVERYTHING!”

I used to say that too. More recently, I have reacted to the daily drumbeat of weird headlines by saying, “Just another day in America. Nothing surprises me now.”

Of course, that’s a lie. How can you not be surprised by what’s happening? Back in 2014, if anyone had told you with a straight face what we would be dealing with today, we would have taken their keys.

Imagine your best friend in 2014 saying, “Get this. During the next ten years, we’re going to send two old coots to the White House, even though they’re both hugely unpopular. The first one will get in without winning the popular vote. When he runs for a second term, he’ll lose the popular vote and the electoral vote to an even older guy.” As we roll our eyes, he says, “Wait, it gets better. Four years after that, the really old guy will run for re-election. And who’s his opponent? The first guy, the one he beat the last time. And by now, the really old guy is in his 80s, and looks every minute of it, and the other old guy will be in so much trouble with the law, he’ll be in court more than he’s on the campaign trail. And he’ll owe half a billion dollars because he will lose every court case.”

I’d say, “Great story, bro. Now let’s get you a driver, because you’ve had WAY too much to drink. I mean, I remember when Ronald Reagan was finishing up his second term at the age of 78. We all thought he was ancient!” He said, “I know, right? He’d be considered a spring chicken in 2024.”

He wasn’t finished. He said, “Also by 2024, the nation will be recovering from the big pandemic, the one we’ve been warned about. More than a million people will die. And many who survive will never really get over it. Businesses will close, people will work from home, kids won’t be able to go to school, and hospitals will be overcrowded. It’s gonna be ugly, man.”

I’d say, “Oh my God. Well at least you said we’d be recovering by ‘24. I guess that means Americans will have joined hands, stood united, and defeated that awful virus!”

He’d reply, “Yeah, about that. Well, it’s complicated. That first old president won’t take it too seriously at first. Then he’ll create a fast track for a vaccine. He’ll call it Operation Warp Speed.”

“I like the sound of that,” I said. “That must be when everybody gets on board, practices safe hygiene, and lines up for that vaccine.”

My friend in 2014 shakes his head. Nope,” he said. “Many of that president’s supporters will think the whole thing, even his vaccine is part of an evil plot. They will blame another 80-year old, Dr. Anthony Fauci for creating the virus, after fifty-plus years of fighting infectious diseases. But they will never explain why he didn’t finish destroying America.”

“So, then what happens?” I ask.

“You’ll be sorry you asked,” he said. “The supply chain will collapse, and prices will go up. Congress comes to a screeching halt, compromise becomes a dirty word, and friendships will break up, all because of politics. And oh yeah, many Americans will want to defund the FBI, and they will decide Vladmir Putin is a good guy.”

“Well now, you’ve got me depressed, “I say. “Please tell me there will be a happy ending.”

“I can’t say for sure,” he replied. “I do know the two old guys will outlast their younger challengers, and despite their low standing in the polls, they’ll be the only choices on the ballot in 2024. The incumbent would be 86 at the end of his second term, and the other guy will have to start selling shoes to raise money to pay off his legal debts. Just wait. It’s coming.”

So how about you? Complete this sentence: “I never thought I’d see the day when_______. I’ll publish some of your answers next week.

David Carroll is a Chattanooga news anchor, and his new book “I Won’t Be Your Escape Goat” is available on his website, You may contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405, or at