2010 – Thank God It’s Almost Over

 Virgil Mosaic: Bardo Museum Tunis

2010.  The year that gave us a healthcare reform package that was “better than nothing.”  Same with financial reform.  And that was about as good as it got.

The Tea Party, spurred on by anger at big government, triumphed,  while rampaging Republicans, the people who gave us one of the biggest governments in history under George W. Bush, came thundering back like a herd of elephants in heat with John Boehner, aka:  “he who never smiles,”  leading the charge.

And we the people let them return to power in the House.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

First came the earthquake in Haiti.   A country with next-to-nothing gets slammed by a quake and now has even less.

John and Elizabeth Edwards separate.  John’s been fooling around, and has a child with another woman.   So much for his once promising political career.  Elizabeth Edwards, a trooper to the very end, then dies from cancer.  A tragedy of Shakespearean proportion.

2010 did give us the iPad, but do you really care?   Is this something we need?   We already had Blackberrys, Bluetooth, 3G, 4G, jell-based shoe inserts, cell phones, laptops and desktops, so is it really such a big deal or is Steve Jobs just really good at marketing new products?   We are now talking to colleagues on Bluetooth headsets while tapping a GPS to find an address while looking for another music selection on our iPods.   All while driving.   Are we a little stressed out?  Do ya think?

Then all those Toyotas were recalled for pedal problems.   Not even mighty Toyota, one of the most trouble-free automobiles ever built, was immune from the scourge on mankind that was the year 2010.

In sports, it was Tiger Woods and more Tiger Woods.  And then even more…..  Kicking a tiger when it’s down.  How sad.

Oh, and Dick Cheney had another heart attack, which was bad or good, depending upon your political persuasion and your love of humankind regardless of how smarmy a person might be.

Dubya Bush, who admits to letting his wife tell him what’s in the paper because he doesn’t read much, published a book.

Down in Chile, they had a terrible earthquake, followed by the rescue of the Chilean miners.  I guess the rescue offset the earthquake a bit, although the rescue was a far larger event for our media.   I tuned out after some buffoon on tv compared it to a moon landing.

The nation of Greece, teetered on the edge of bankruptcy, with fears that other European nations might follow suit.

Iran, continued its march toward becoming a nuclear-armed nation.

We still can’t find Osama bin Laden, although our Predators keep blasting away along the Pakistani border occasionally hitting innocent people, making us even less popular as our quest to “win hearts and minds” seems to have faded.

We passed the nine year mark in Afghanistan.  Vietnamization, anyone?

At our airports, we were all forced to undergo naked body scans if we didn’t want to be groped by security guards in fancy uniforms.   All because some idiot jammed explosives into his underwear.  So we all pay the price for one religious nutjob with exploding underwear that failed to explode.  Soon, they’ll be looking up our hoo-hoos.

The good times only continued as the president of Poland was killed in a plane crash, a monster volcano erupted in Iceland disrupting air traffic to and from Europe,  the BP oil well blew in the Gulf  and Arizona passed its immigration law.

We had some fun, didn’t we?  And it only got better.

Lindsay Lohan did her thing in and out of court, wearing her heart not on her sleeve but on her nails.   In Washington, Charlie Rangel got his knuckles busted in an ethics probe while Helen Thomas, age 89, turned in her resignation.

The intellectual intensity of our public discourse really got fired up in N.Y., where debate over the ground zero mosque, which isn’t at “ground zero” and isn’t really a mosque, went on endlessly.    We were told to stop eating eggs (they were determined to leave us absolutely nothing) while Rod Blagojevich and his hair were cleared of 23 out of 24 corruption charges.

We couldn’t go anywhere either, because blood sucking bed bugs had suddenly popped up.  And they were everywhere.  Including the mall in D.C., where Glenn Beck held a rally for the confused and misbegotten.

A-way down south, in the land of cotton, there was that dour preacher-man with pork chops, who was absolutely nobody until he threatened to go on a Quran burning binge.  Suddenly, thanks to the 7/24 news cycle, hillbilly hokus was commanding national headlines.   He even made a trip to New York City.  Probably his first.

A big chunk of Hungary was engulfed by a mysterious red toxic sludge, which was mostly ignored by the U.S. mainstream media because it wasn’t happening here in the U.S.  As you probably know, we generally no longer care about anything unless it’s happening here in the U.S.

Speaking of which, Christine O’Donnell, was and then wasn’t a witch.   At least she says she’s not.   I’m not messin’ with her.  Anyway, she lost the election, while, in an apparent bid to balance things out, a Tea Party contingent in the great state of Massachusetts elected a former nude male model to the U.S. Senate.

North Korea shelled South Korea, proving that Dubya Bush was right.  Those are baaaad people.

Sarah and Bristol, the Palin girls, seemed to be everywhere, grinning, chatting, dancing and shooting caribou, as Bristol’s ex went on the talk show circuit and attempted to talk.

President Obama, under heavy fire for failing to bring about the change he promised, settled for a no deal tax deal, letting the rich continue on their junket of getting even richer, while the middle class continues taking it in the shorts.   At the same time, the phrase “worried that our best days may be behind us” became a catch-all for pundits describing America’s mood.

WikiLeaks chief, Julian Assange, was thrown in jail, apparently on an international warrant (or an agreement between countries), but without being formally charged.

I must admit it wasn’t all bad.  “Don’t ask, don’t tell” was repealed.   Iran, did release Sarah Shourd after throwing her in prison for 13 months for hiking.  Tom DeLay was convicted and dear Betty White made a huge comeback even though she had never really gone away.  Then there was the much ballyhooed “START Treaty,” which will limit the U.S. and Russia to a mere 1,550 nuclear warheads each.   Only 1,550 nukes.   We will still be able to achieve mutual annihilation several times over.   Another “better than nothing” proposition?  Any move to limit nukes is something, I guess.

On balance, 2010 was the year that….well, I’ll keep it civil.  On a scale of one to ten, I’d give it maybe a three.  Or possibly a four.  And that’s being kind.  No, on second thought, it was only a three.  Or maybe a two and a half.

What I’m saying here, is that if you’ve been a little down in the dumps lately – finding yourself reaching for the Xanax bottle more than you should – there could be a perfectly valid reason for it.   So don’t be too hard on yourself.

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Late add:  Just when I thought 2010 couldn’t get any worse, the Washington Post reports that 86 year old Geraldine Doyle,  the woman used as the model for “Rosie the Riveter” and the “We Can Do It!” posters during World War II, has died.  And so, one of the finest images of strength the nation ever had goes to her grave in the final hours of 2010.   A year that is making us pay, right up to its bitter end.

RIP Rosie.  And thank you.

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