As interesting a year as 2011 has been for us CTNewsJunkies, we can only begin to imagine the excitement 2012 has in store. I had this column on my mind when I went to sleep last night and was tormented by visions of the future. Of course, I can do nothing else but share them with you.

And so, without further ado, “NostroSarah’s Prognostications for the Coming Year”:

1.  Susan Bysiewicsz will continue to put up a tough fight against Chris Murphy in the Democratic primary for the Senate seat to be vacated when Joe Lieberman retires, but will have a hard time convincing anyone that she is a populist “outsider”. It’s hard to pull off the outsider image when you’ve been keeping notes on residents in the state voter database. My apologies Susie, NostroSarah divines this will be another unsuccessful run.

2. Lame duck Sen. Joe Lieberman will withhold the endorsement craved by former Rep. Chris Shays until the last possible minute in an attempt to stay relevant to the proceedings. By the time he gives his endorsement, Shays will have been crushed by the McMahon financial juggernaut, but hopefully will have raised enough to pay off the $283,000 in campaign debt left over from the embezzlement scandal involving his former campaign manager, Michael Sohn.

3. Yesterday, I received a fundraising email from Michelle Bachmann, (yes, ME!! Go figure! ) in which she compared herself to former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. Oh, Michelle dear, you do make me roll about laughing. This is after a snub from The Iron Lady herself to the first Republican woman who had the audacity to attempt such a comparison, Sarah Palin. Clearly, either a) Bachmann is desperate or b) she does not learn from history and therefore is doomed to repeat it. But since this apparently seems to be the trend du jour for female GOP candidates — and since Gov. Malloy appears to be encouraging us to gamble in the Nutmeg State — I am going to start a pool. If you hear Linda McMahon or any other female Republican candidate in Connecticut attempt the Iron Lady Comparison, you can win a CTNewsJunkie mug. Just be the first to report the Iron Lady comparison in a comment below with the candidate’s name and the date she said it.

Aside from the Iron Lady comparisons,  I should probably start a pool on how many Connecticut candidates will invoke the names of Ronald Reagan, JFK, and FDR between Jan. 1 and Election Day. But if I did that, I would be in trouble, because everyone knows the correct answer will be “all of them.”

On a more serious note, here is what I really hope happens in 2012: I hope that Congress will actually start listening to the people instead of ideology, and I hope that they will work together (I know, I’m laughing too, but I was sleeping so I was allowed to dream) to build upon the fragile improvement in fundamentals that we have begun to see in the economy.

I hope that we will start to tackle the deficit but in a measured way that doesn’t stifle the economic recovery, and doesn’t continue the massive expansion of the wealth divide that exposed the fallacy of “trickle down economics.” With China’s economy slowing, we cannot afford to continue deficit spending. But that means if the right wing wants to cut Social Security and Medicare, they cannot protect military spending or refuse to raise taxes. If we are saying “everything is on the table,” then everything must to be on the table. No sacred cows.

My other, most fervent hope is that anyone we elect or re-elect in 2012 will take their Congressional oath seriously and offer serious opposition to the erosion of our civil liberties that we have seen since September 2001. Read John Whitehead’s Civil Liberties Year in Review 2011 and ask yourself if you recognize the country of your birth. Ask yourself if we have beggared our nation economically over the last decade, forfeiting the money we could have spent to improve our schools and our infrastructure — not to mention the human cost in thousands of lives lost while others were irretrievably damaged physically or now suffer PTSD — in order to achieve this death by gutless votes to our Bill of Rights and Constitution at home.

This isn’t a Democratic or Republican issue. It’s an American issue.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year.

Sarah Darer Littman is a critically-acclaimed author of books for young people. Her latest novel, Some Kind of Hate, comes out Nov. 1 from Scholastic Press.

The views, opinions, positions, or strategies expressed by the author are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of or any of the author's other employers.