2008 was quite a year, was it not? We had economic turmoil, the history-making US election, Palin family values, the ascension of Rachel Maddow, the Olympics (including the USWNT’s Gold medal) … and doing every Rocky-loving, cheese-steak craving, Broad Street strolling heart good … the Phillies … and now the Eagles! I don’t even know if that was a sentence – but I just had to put it out there.
So how about 2009? It’s dawning here in NH with a bright, bright sun over a frigid, snowy expanse of fields and winter-brittle trees. The wind has quieted after a wild night. Everything is quiet in seeming anticipation. Of what? An inauguration, perhaps?
It is difficult to get my mind around the past eight years. I remember so vividly the nightmare of the 2000 election. The long weeks of hanging chads and political maneuverings. The tragedy of that Supreme Court decision. The soaring graciousness of Al Gore’s concession speech in the face of what had just happened. Then the uninspiring mediocrity of Bush’s early days. How could we know that we would come to look back on those uninspiring, mediocre days with a desperate sort of nostalgia?
9/11 came along and changed everything … but not because of what was done to us. No – what changed everything was the terrible way that we responded to 9/11 over the ensuing seven years. What was a horrible event was taken up by Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld, et al and used to further their twisted ideas about power and privilege and governance. These evil men, and our fear-based complicity in their actions, have set this country back in ways I’m sure we haven’t even fathomed yet.
The one good thing about it all is that things went so terribly wrong that the electorate eventually came to actually thirst for the message of hope and change brought by Barack Obama. Yeah – the one good thing is that that message could actually resonate and lead to an historic election and (finally!) a hopeful result.
As 2009 begins, I feel like we are emerging from a long, dark time. As we emerge, I think we will begin to become aware of how much the darkness has weighed on us. As we emerge, I hope we will begin to feel our potential, our energy, our goodness and aspiring values again. I look forward, to a time when I might actually feel good about the values and actions of the country I live in. Wouldn’t that be an amazing thing?
That is what I am feeling this morning, as 2009 dawns and the dark era of Bush draws closer and closer to its end.
PS I am also hoping that Penn State pummels USC at the Rose Bowl!