So we made it through the Christmas holiday season and are now staring down the end of 2022. Good riddance. 

We saw families struggle with the economy, COVID continue to leave a mark and a midterm election surprise that set the stage for what will certainly be a politically tumultuous 2023. 

We saw shifts on social media and Russia start a war with Ukraine. The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, sending the issue of abortion to the states

There is no way around it: 2022 was a historical year and one that will trickle into 2023 as Americans continue to wrestle with many of the same issues. 

Ukrainian soldiers fire a French-made CAESAR self-propelled howitzer towards Russian positions near Avdiivka, Donetsk region, Ukraine, Monday, Dec. 26, 2022.

By now you’re asking yourself, “what will happen in 2023?” Well, we have you covered. The USA TODAY Opinion team got together and sorted next year out for you, so you don’t have to. 

People magazine’s editors come to their senses and name me ‘Sexiest Man Alive’

In what will be hailed as a “triumph for dad bods,” the editors of People magazine will at long last declare me, USA TODAY columnist Rex Huppke, the “Sexiest Man Alive.”

The announcement will be the culmination of years spent highlighting my handsomeness in columns, on social media and to my wife, who has always responded with an eye roll, which is the traditional American signal for: “Yes, I agree.”

USA TODAY Opinion columnist Rex Huppke.

Why am I so confident this will happen in 2023? It’s simple. I read it on the internet.

On Dec. 21, I posted the following tweet: “Excited to announce that I am PEOPLE magazine’s 2023 sexiest man alive.” That’s a tweet from the verified Twitter account of a journalist from a major national news organization. I’m not about to question its validity.

For too long the judges were presumably blinded by my finely sculpted man calves and unable to bask in the rest of my handsomeness. The new year will bring an end to that injustice, and I will humbly take my rightful seat next to other sexy greats like George Clooney, Idris Elba and Brad Pitt.

Thank you, People magazine. And you’re welcome, America!

Rex Huppke

Keystone (pipeline) cops

Raise your hand if you’ve heard this: The Keystone pipeline spilled into a creek running through rural pastureland about 150 miles northwest of Kansas City in the first week of December. It was the biggest spill in the system’s history, according to Department of Transportation data. Canada-based TC Energy said the pipeline lost about 14,000 barrels or 588,000 gallons. 

Cleanup continues Dec. 9, 2022, where the ruptured Keystone pipeline dumped oil into a creek in Washington County, Kan.

This news escaped me until right before Christmas, and it unnerved me as we head into the new year.

The broken pipe dumped enough oil to nearly fill an Olympic-size swimming pool, according to The Associated Press, “becoming the largest onshore crude pipeline spill in nine years and surpassing all the previous ones on the same pipeline system combined.”

What do you mean by “previous ones”?

A U.S. Government Accountability Office report last year said there had been 22 prior spills along the Keystone system since it began operating in 2010, most of them on TC Energy property and at fewer than 50 barrels.

Now, environmental concerns helped fire up opposition to a new 1,200-mile Keystone XL pipeline, and the company pulled the plug after President Joe Biden canceled a permit for it. 

Even without the XL, though, the nearly 2,700-mile Keystone moves about 600,000 barrels of Canadian tar-sands oil a day to refineries in Illinois, Oklahoma and Texas. 

But how do you protect nature and its creatures from 588,000 gallons of something that’s like peanut butter?

I’ll be keeping an eye on this in 2023.

Thuan Le Elston

Trump will not be going to prison in 2023

Former President Donald Trump is embroiled in many legal battles, which are hurting his fortune and his 2024 presidential campaign. From the Mar-a-Lago raid to the Manhattan case to New York Attorney General Letitia James’ lawsuit to all the probes over Jan. 6, 2021, and the 2020 election, Trump has a lot on his plate. 

Former President Donald Trump announces he is running for president for the third time as he pauses while speaking at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla., Nov. 15, 2022.

The lawsuits have excited liberals.  But I regret to inform you, my Twitter-obsessed friends, that the “walls” you’ve been talking about every single day for the past seven years will not in fact be “closing in” on the newly minted mogul of photoshopped, NFT trading cards.  

Something much better will happen instead. Trump will take a page out of the book of one of his most loyal supporters, Brandon Straka, and put himself behind bars. Just as Straka pretended to cry in a cage to show everyone at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas his Solzhenitsyn-esque experience in the American “gulag,” the former president will weep in a cage at one of his rallies. The cage, of course, will be bigger and painted gold. 

After whining about how hard his life is for 3 1/2 hours and shedding a few manly tears, Trump will be led out of the cage in handcuffs by “Sheriff” Herschel Walker. Walker will then tie Trump to a stake like a witch in 17th century Salem, Massachusetts, proving that Trump truly is the object of the deep state’s “witch hunt.”

Chris Schlak

Here’s a resolution for 2023: Make a friend with someone who has different political views 

I realize this isn’t a conventional New Year’s resolution, but hear me out. Along with your other goals of losing weight or hitting the gym more frequently, there’s something else you should consider. 

Make 2023 the year you purposefully make a friend – or at least a good acquaintance – with someone who is a member of a different political party or persuasion. 

Why? Americans are concerned with the deepening division and polarization in the country. It has led several polls as a top issue troubling citizens.

A poll from FiveThirtyEight this year found political division to be the third most important concern, followed only by inflation and crime. 

USA TODAY columnist Ingrid Jacques

Self-segregation is making the problem worse. Americans are increasingly likely to interact and socialize only with those who share their views. Our social media and cable news world have contributed to the phenomenon by allowing us to live in bubbles where our beliefs are echoed. 

The problems with this are obvious. When we remove humanity from the viewpoint, it’s easy to see the “other side” as the cause of the country’s problems and worthy of our contempt. And once someone treats you with contempt, it’s all too easy to return the favor. 

A conversational roadmap: We meet weekly for lunch and talk politics. We don’t always agree. But we’re always civil.

There are some reasons for optimism. For instance, in Michigan, my friend and former boss Nolan Finley of The Detroit News is cofounder, along with noted Detroit journalist Stephen Henderson, of the Great Lakes Civility Project. These two men are about as different as you can get in their political views, but they are great friends and want to spread the message of why that’s important to groups and businesses throughout the Midwest. 

Similarly, David Dulio, political science professor and director of the Center for Civic Engagement at Michigan’s Oakland University, has hosted debates on controversial topics such as abortion that offer civil discourse and allow for additional understanding of the other side in an effort to reduce polarization.  

Hearing out someone you disagree with doesn’t mean you have to change your view. Rather, it’s about tolerance and treating the other person with respect. 

And the best way to break down these barriers to understanding is to reach out in friendship. 

— Ingrid Jacques

Hello, 2023. We have thoughts about what the new year will bring.