At last we are back in a real year. 2013 was pretend and fake from start to finish. Start with the number. 2013. I wrote that every day at the bottom of my cartoons and not once did it look like a real year to me. It was just an artificial collection of integers that signified nothing but a holding pattern.

The substance of the year was not much better. More fakery and pretending. The level of out-and-out insanity in Washington trended downward a bit toward the end, but only to within shouting distance of fair-minded adult conversation. It was like one of those wildfires that is reported as “50% contained”. I’ve never quite understood how partially contained is contained at all. For example, is a 50%-contained wall of floodwater contained?

I think by nature I am an optimist. I must be. A lifetime of observation has revealed how many ways things can and do go wrong. I spend most of every day scratching lines on paper to illustrate that. And yet I keep feeling like things work through to a better place, sometimes at least. Sometimes it takes decades. This time for example. But the weird experiment of late 20th Century conservatism and its highly theatrical 2013 death rattle seems more and more to be in the dying embers phase. It just seems like our luck is about to change.

Take the year 2014, for example. Add up the digits, and what do you get?!