My humble opinion on
December 30, 2001
Good Riddance to 2001
I like to think I'm a writer. I write
this column and book reviews. I've published a few short stories,
majored in English Composition in college, and am wrapping up a first
draft of a novel. I work as a technical writer. I certainly do not
consider myself a wordsmith like Bill Safire or Bill Buckley, but I
enjoy using words and sentences in unique and interesting ways.
But try as I might, I really can't
come up with any other way to describe this past year. The year of our
Lord 2001 sucked. And, as Dick Cheney might say, big time.
Did anything good happen in 2001?
Maybe a few things, but the bad clearly dominated. Terrorist attacks,
recession, layoffs - that was 2001 in a nutshell.
But, since I try to be an optimist,
I'll concentrate on the few bright spots before discussing the
personal level, my wife and I are still gainfully employed, which is
wonderful, since Arizona's unemployment rate shot up to 5.4% in 2001
(the jobless rate was 5.7% for the nation). Job growth in the state
declined by 1.1%, and retail sales growth in Maricopa County, one of
the largest counties in the nation, grew a meager 1.9%. Sure, we
each got piddling raises and Mary missed out on a promotion
opportunity, but considering the dismal economic conditions, keeping
a job is quite the accomplishment.
the personal side, Mary and I adopted another wonderful golden
retriever named Trooper in February, and he has proved an excellent
companion for us and our other golden, Brandon.
Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series, beating the mighty
Yankees in the ninth inning of Game 7. Nothing so galvanized and
united the state quite like the first major championship in state
history (with due respect toward the University of Arizona's
basketball championship in 1997). It gave us all something to cheer
about at a time we desperately needed it.
thanks to President Dubya, we got to keep a smidgen more of our
money in the form of a $1.35 trillion tax cut, spread out over ten
years. It's not as big as it sounds, though. During that same ten
years, the government is expected to collect about $20 trillion. But
it did reinforce the morally and economically sound principal that
what the American people earn is theirs and not the government's.
The surplus, which is now history, belonged to us, because it was
our money. Shame on those who tried their best to get their grubby
hands on it to spend on their own pet projects.
- Finally, there was the execution of
Timothy McVeigh. May he burn in hell for all eternity.
That's all the good news I can come up
with. Please let me know if I've
missed any. In the meantime, the bad news in 2001 kept on coming.
Clinton left office in much the same fashion he conducted it while
President - disgracefully. From pardoning terrorists and a wealthy
and well-connected fugitive, to stealing the furniture to furnish
their new multi-million dollar home, and not to mention shaking down
donors and friends for cash despite their wealth, the Clintons
proved conservatives correct. They are shallow, immaterial,
political hacks, venal liars, greedy, abusers of power, and just
downright rotten individuals.
nearly ran out of power, due to a half-hearted and incomplete
attempt to deregulate electricity and the state's unwillingness to
meet the demand for new power. Rather than learn their lesson and
complete deregulation, it re-regulated, thus reverting back to the
system which prompted deregulation in the first place.
earthquake with a 7.7 magnitude in India killed at least 20,000
people, underscoring the vital need for Western-like capitalism and
wealth, so India and other countries can construct buildings to
withstand these quakes.
Navy submarine rammed and sunk a harmless Japanese fishing vessel,
causing much embarrassment here at home.
driver Dale Earnhardt died in the last lap at the Daytona 500, and
it now takes one less bullet to re-unite the Beatles.
government intern Chandra Levy disappeared, raising suspicions that
her boss, California Congressman Gary Condit, did away with her to
conceal an illicit affair. Condit maintained his innocence, not to
mention that ghastly death-like grin, through it all, and bravely
evaded Connie Chung's questions on TV. The only news story that
seemed to matter all summer.
veteran FBI agent, 57-year-old Robert Hanssen, was indicted for
spying for Moscow. Hanssen received about $1.4 million total for his
efforts, and also allowed a friend to watch he and his wife make
love. A handful of U.S. agents were caught and killed thanks to
Hanssen, who deserves to die a long and painful death.
Jim Jeffords left the Republican Party to become an independent,
just a few months after Vermont voters sent him back to the Senate
as a Republican. The spineless switch placed the Senate under the
iron fist of Tom Daschle, who used his illegitimately gained post as
Majority Leader to block several proposals supported by a majority
of Republicans and Democrats. Jeffords said he switched because
President Dubya was too conservative, though Jeffords showed no
qualms in serving in Congress under President Reagan, who was just a
tad more conservative than Dubya.
people on the East Coast died of anthrax, and anthrax-laced letters
were sent to various media outlets and government offices, including
the office of Tom Daschle. No one knows who did this or why.
Middle East exploded into a fresh round of violence, proving that
the Oslo accords and the idea behind it - Israel trading land and
territory for worthless Arafat assurances of peace - were a
disaster. Palestinian terrorists use the Gaza Strip as launching
pads for attacks. Arafat is either unable or unwilling to stop the
attacks. I'm not into the prediction business, but I think next year
will be much worse.
- Finally, September 11 was not only
the worst event in 2001, but in American history. However, it must
be mentioned that some good has come from the terrorist attacks.
America is now a stronger, more resolute, and much more serious
Those were the lowlights of 2001. So,
let us close the door on that dismal year, in fact, let's slam the door
in its ugly face, and welcome 2002 with a fresh spirit of hope and
Happy New Year, everyone.