Saturday, December 26, 2009

Learning the Hard Way

Remember Y2K? Coming up on the new millenium scared many of us. Among the rationally minded, the fear took form as a prediction that at midnight, January 1, 2000, the internets would break down. It was a big fear even though ten years ago, being plugged in was not nearly as important as it is now.

It didn't happen all at once, and it wasn't about the internet at all, but it is true that the aughts were mighty fraught, oh yeah. Suicide bombers brought down the twin towers, changing forever the way we Americans think about security and safety. Our economy went down the toilet, literally millions of jobs went with it. The Bush administrations were disastrous in every arena imaginable: education, finance, environment, health care, and in terms of our reputation around the world.

So in a way, those Y2K fears were spot on. None of us imagined a protracted version of disaster, but indeed that's what we sustained.

The first ten years of the new millenium woke us up, though - well - some of us, anyway. In the last election we did not fall for the charms of Sarah Palin. Thank God! Our new president shored up the financial meltdown, is trying to close Guantanomo Bay, ordered the end of the practice of torture. Some of us are feeling impatient with him because there's still so much to be done. But for heaven's sake, he hasn't been in office even a year. I think he's doing a really good job.

Americans are thinking more about global warming than ever before, buying hybrid cars, planting vegetable gardens, recycling. We're actually in a national debate about what health care should be. In fact, we're looking closely at all the ways in which we've failed. We're thinking about what we eat, looking at industrial farming on all levels. At last we are beginning to understand why we're fat yet suffering from malnutrition.

All the discussions/arguments and all the active thinking about what's not working in this big, fancy country gives me hope that in the years ahead, we might become more mindful. I'm hoping we will let go of our fixation on hoarding, our childish expectations. I'm hoping as a country we will begin to grow up. The new millenium broke our denial. Now may we roll up our sleeves and work hard to fix all these problems!

The rain that began falling yesterday afternoon continued through the night and morning. The snow is melting, the year is melting, the first decade of the millenium is melting. I'm not sad to see any of it go. Onwards & upwards!


Washington Cube said...

My snow head is melting! But oh the fun in the creation!

I am determined that this coming year be better. Life is too short for so much misery.

hele said...

how blissful to spend time reading your posts and seeing all the white.

here it is midsummer and green and buzzing with life.

ellen abbott said...

You are so right Reya. I'm ready for a new decade.

Tom said...

Wow! I hadn't thought about the decade ending...time flies...

btw, how was the movie?

Reya Mellicker said...

We saw "In the Air" with George Clooney. I found it tedious. Also cynical, depressing, yet schmaltzy, a truly unfortunate combination.

I do not recommend it! I'm also going to see the new Sherlock Holmes with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law. Hope it's more fun!

Pouty Lips said...

It is premature to give President Obama credit for closing Guantanomo Bay. Everything else you said is spot on.

Reya Mellicker said...

Should have said, he's trying.

ewix said...

Here's hoping we become more mindful!
Wouldn't it be wonderful.
Yes, I do think Obama is doing his best
but probably being too polite about it.
Quote from somewhere or other:
Democrats get nothing done
Republicans get awful things done.......

seems sadly true.
Do not get me started on health care which is a disgrace in this country.

Reya, I am totally fried as an over -emotional new grandmother....!
love you anyway

Linda Pendleton said...

Very well said, Reya.
I am optimistic because, I like you, do see change taking place.

Happy New Year!

California Girl said...

Really good points you make. I also believe we are seriously re-evaluating the way we live. The recession will be a learning tool if we curtail impulse spending, put the banks on notice about credit cards, i.e cut them up and close our accts if they refuse to give us reasonable APRs and reduce the insane fees they now charge. Vegetable gardens are flourishing. Our local Green Team began one last Spring and now have triple the amount of space requested for the coming Spring. We consider it a great accomplishment. The variety of hybrid cars and smart cars gives me hope. As for the O Admin, well, I, too, have been frustrated by the Afghanistan commitment and his seeming lack of standing up to the Republicans on the health care issue. But, the 12/28 issue of Newsweek is filled with interviews of his cabinet as well as past members of of the Executive branch and it puts things in a more balanced perspective than I have. His admin is young and he's accomplished alot, despite the naysayers.

So, I welcome the new decade and hope it brings happiness, renewed faith, hard work and a greater sense of responsibility to all concerned...even the right wing. LOL.

Cyndy said...

We saw "Nine" yesterday - enjoyably stylish but VERY tedious. I couldn't wait for it to end. Kind of like I can't wait for this decade to end. The next one has GOT to be better!

Expat From Hell said...

This is a great post, Reya. And how appropriate to characterize this decade as "melting". Like the Wicked Witch of the West, huh? Or is that the Southwest? EFH

lakeviewer said...

We can hope, stay vigilant, speak out for truth and fairness.

It's a hard job, but we can do it.

Reya Mellicker said...

Cyndy, a friend of mine tells me that NINE is all about a lonely narcissistic guy. That does sound tedious!

EFH - Oh yeah, I thought about the wicked witch - definitely!

Washington Cube said...

How odd we are all on the same page about tedious movies and the wicked witch and how rotten 2009 proved to be.

I want to see Sherlock myself.

I loved today's pictures.

Barry said...

I'm all for a melt down of this decade and agree with you totally about Obama. His first year has been one of the few bright spots of this decade.

He has a long way to go but what a beginning!

Miranda said...

Reya, you are so very wise! Been loving your pictures of all that SNOW!

Angela said...

Reya, your post, and in fact the thoughts of many Americans I have been reading lately, gives me hope. You are right in what you said about American reputation which has suffered a great deal. Since I left in 1965 I have ALWAYS fought for "THE Americans and their national character" being optimistic and freedom-loving and inventive and being able to learn from experience... but it became difficult for a while. And still I believe it will come true again. Thank Heavens it was not Sarah Palin who had to shoulder all these tasks and be the shining example. I think your president is the best one you could have chosen. Happy New Year to you!

Bee said...

I love the connections you make here, Reya. The "aughts" were a pretty horrible decade, and I agree -- let's sweep it away and see if we can improve the landscape.