December 31, 1999 was especially important because of its double duty of bidding adieu not only to the previous year of the 20th century, but also to the entire century itself, a century that saw two World Wars, years of segregation, and the long, unfinished struggle for equal rights.
Hope for the new century was high.
As we are a mere three years from the quarter way mark through it, let’s take a look at how it has worked out so far by examining 50 of the events that have occurred since January 1, 2000. For each, decide if it’s a good thing or not. Keep a tally.
- George W. Bush was elected president
- 9/11 occurred
- As a result of 9/11 we have begun to feel vulnerable to external attacks
- As a second result we developed irrational hatred of all Muslims
- As a third result we entered into two wars because of erroneous warnings about weapons of mass destruction in one and a desire for revenge in the other
- As a fourth result we accepted limitations on our freedom which continue to expand
- Climate change worsened and became a political football
- Saddam Hussein was captured and executed
- George W. Bush was reelected
- Barak Obama was elected president and we were reminded a president could speak complete sentences
- We learned of the underlying hatred many had with a Black president and the resultant subsequent obstructionist philosophy being honed by the Republican party
- Sonia Sotomayor became a justice on the Supreme Court
- Elena Kagan became a justice on the Supreme Court
- The Republicans blocked the legitimate right to have a vote on an Obama nomination for the Supreme Court
- During Obama’s presidency the two wars continued as more and more troops and civilians were exposed to its horror
- A con man with no scruples was elected president
- Lies occurred like never before and soon millions would accept them as truths
- The Republican party abandoned long held beliefs in order to submit to the con man who had become surprisingly powerful
- We withdrew from the hard negotiated Iran pact
- We alienated allies in NATO and elsewhere
- We cozied up to dictators
- Neil M. Gorsuch became a justice on the Supreme Court
- Brett M. Kavenaugh became a justice on the Supreme Court
- Amy Coney Barrett became a justice on the Supreme Court
- Covid struck
- Our president eschewed advice from medical experts and recommended ingesting crazy substances
- Asians were attacked as our president blamed China for the virus
- Operation Warp Speed was established
- With the assistance of Mitch McConnell, the con man swung federal courts in general and the Supreme Court specifically well to the right
- The threat to legal abortions became significant
- Joe Biden was elected president
- In the same election Republicans made significant gains
- Lies about the election formulated and are still believed
- January 6, 2021 saw an insurrection that disgusted most, independent of party
- After time one of our political parties came to believe the insurrection was just a normal tourist day
- New even more dire reports on climate change were issued
- The obstructionism perfected during the Obama years was unpacked and modified to stand in Biden’s way
- Covid vaccines became available
- Many refused to get it, or even wear masks
- Biden removed us from Afghanistan
- The way leaving Afghanistan was handled was chaotic at best
- Inflation reared
- Gas prices soared
- Education came under attack in many states
- Increased restrictions on voting were enacted in many states, essentially denying the vote to many classes of citizens
- Russia invaded Ukraine
- Biden united Europe, much of Asia, and the United States in a coordinated response to the invasion
- Gerrymandering continued to thwart fairness
- Right wing extremists have expanded their influencce
- Prejudice and violence against gays have expanded
Of these 50 events, I look at 9 in a positive way. That’s 41 that I would view negatively. How about you? Maybe you would add more to the above list. I’m sure I’ve left out many possibilities.
It alarms me that much of our population might very well consider 41 to be positive.
But for me, though, 9 positive and 41 negative. That’s a whopping 18% positive.
I’d say the 21st century hasn’t started well.