This column appeared in the Western Tribune on December 30, 2009
Has it really been 10 years? We were all Y2Krazy in December, 1999, wondering if the world as we knew it would end when the New Year began.
Glued to our televisions, we saw the fireworks from cities that celebrated before our clocks struck midnight. Airplanes did not drop out of the sky, elevators did not trap people in skyscrapers, and those on cruise ships did not return to ports devoid of people.
We are nearing the end of the aughts (or the zeros or however this decade will be remembered), and it is going out with a whimper.
Not as bad as it could have been, had the president not instituted policies which have helped turn the economy around. The job market is stabilizing and manufacturing reports indicate the beginnings of an economic recovery.
But the most encouraging news is that both houses of congress have passed historic legislation which recognizes that all Americans have the right to affordable health care. No longer will access to health care depend on one’s financial status or the whims of an insurance executive, assuming the kinks are worked out and a bill is presented for the president to sign.
This indicates a maturing of sorts of our democracy as we become a country that recognizes how important health care is to the economy and to our national welfare.
While ten years ago we welcomed the New Year with relief, 2009 was greeted with hope. Some have spent the past year fighting everything our president has tried to do, with no regard as to the merits of the issues.
They ask, “How’s that ‘change’ you voted for working out for you?”
Much better, I believe, than the negative change we were experiencing before Barack Obama became president.
Then they grade the president on the basis of what he has accomplished during his first year, as if all of the promises he made during his campaign had to be completed during that time period. There are three years left in his first term and another four years might follow.
As 2010 begins, the positive feelings that filled the nation a year ago are returning. Just as the country is being lifted, we can begin to expect a better community as well.
Birmingham will soon have a new mayor and later in 2010 Bessemer will have the opportunity to elect new officials as well.
Happy New Year.