For the past few years I've been give names to years. I can't seem to find where I posted them or what emails I sent them in so the best I can do is guess at what they were called and when. I'm pretty sure I named 2007 The Year of the Fuckhead. There was a lot of fuckheadedness going on that year. 2008 I think was The Year The Chickens Came Home to Roost. I don't recall what I named 2009 but I think it was probably a positive name. I think I named 2006 and I don't recall any names for 2005 or earlier. In hindsight I'd rename 2009 The Year Evertyhing Was Supposed to Change But Didn't.
We didn't get health reform this year. We got a health insurance and drug company profitability law. There were a few items that were positive in it. It is possible for it to be morphed into real health reform but it'll be another 20 years before we even think about it seriously again. We are getting a toothless Wall Street reform bill. I'm sure there will be a few scraps for Main Street.
We are watching perhaps the greatest man-made natural disaster in the history of the human race unfold before our very eyes in the Gulf of Mexico. It's certainly in the top 10. I predict this time next year BP will cease to exist as a company. If only to avoid paying for the damages they've wrought. And even if the flow were shut off today we won't know the full impact for weeks, months, and years. We are stuck in two wars with no end in sight. The right wing in America has gone batshit insane. They haven't gotten violent yet but they are making noises. Actually I'm somewhat hopeful they are directing their misplaced energies into the electoral process. We are still in the midst of a great recession though there are signs it's not getting worse and stabilizing. I wouldn't go so far as to say the economy is improving marginally.
As long as the middle class in America loses ground, as long as there are tent cities, as long as there are millions of undocumented workers, as long as the national debt soars, as long as we stay entangled in foreign wars, as long as we don't take care of our wounded vets, as long as there are millions of unemployed, I do not see conditions improving in America. I do not feel hopeless but neither do I feel hopeful. All I can say is that I do not feel helpless.
Barry McGuire's song The Eve of Destruction is as timely now as when it was first performed in 1965. It shouldn't be that way but it is. And with everything that I see happening now I can't see conditions improving for a long long time. America isn't going to collapse but it has some very rocky years ahead of it. Since 2009 didn't turn out the way it was supposed to 2010 was supposed to be crunch time. The time to really make a positive change. I'm not seeing it. I'm not depressed either. I just know that we are in a time of transition and that it's going to be unpleasant to say the least. November will seal the deal on whether we move forward or we are totally screwed. There is so much more I could kvetch about but why?
The way things are shaping up I'm gonna call 2010 The Year of Destruction. Take it away, Barry.
Update May 31, 2010
I'd forgotten too mention there was a horrible earthquake in Haiti which was the worst earthquake in the world to hit the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. I think 100,000 died. Then shortly afterwards there was a massive earthquake in Chile. Thankfully they were better prepared. I was reminded of this by seeing a picture of a sinkhole recently formed in Guatamala City after a tropical storm killed hundreds and a volcano erupted. And now Israel attacks a humanitarian convoy in the Mediterranean Sea killing 10 and wounding 30. I knew Israel would not let the flotilla land in Gaza.
I should also add that the leak has still flowing strong after several failed attempts to stop it. It also could not have come at a worse time for the Gulf of Mexico. It is the height of breeding and spawning season for sea turtles, fish and fowl. The La. marshes are also critical stopover habitat for migrating birds. The bluefin tuna being fished to extinction spawns in the Gulf which is only one of two places in the world where it does.
Update June 1, 2010
Oh, and must not forget the unpronounceable volcano in Iceland that grounded air traffic in Europe.