Another year, another decade

Published 3:53 pm Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Hallelujah, we have put another one in the books. Not only are we ending the year of 2009, but we are seeing the end of the decade of the zeroes. I will deal with the year first, to review as I do where we have been for the last 12 months.

What was your year in review? Do you evaluate your life as you ramp up for your new year’s resolutions? Should we look back as we look forward?

Some years, I gladly say goodbye and good riddance and with some of the peaks and valleys of the roller coaster ride I call life, this one had its moments. The older I get though, the less I want to relinquish another year.

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We began with hope. The hope of the nation was all on the new president. By the end of the year, the hope had faded along with approval ratings, the problems have set in, the honeymoon is over and the polarization of our nation is at its most intense level.

In the political world we saw the emergence of tea parties and the angry meter raise to high levels. Congress’ approval is at an all time low and I am beginning to feel cleaning house in Washington wouldn’t be such a bad idea. Our government has no red states and blue states, no party lines; the only side it has is “what can I get for me” greed and power side. I sound bitter probably because I am.

At this point, we sadly look at the ones we lost during the year. Personally, we saw another set of older generational church members and family members die off. It makes me grateful that my immediate family is still with me, especially in the case of my father who has had a terrible year, a few trips to the hospital, infections, surgeries.

Many will look to Michael Jackson’s death to top the death list of all the entertainment celebs put together. It was a shock and yet it wasn’t. He was after all, a troubled man.

Two celeb deaths that made me sad were Patrick Swayze and Farrah Fawcett who fought cancer so bravely. Many we saw coming such as Ed McMahon, Ted Kennedy, and other older stars, but the shocking murder of the football star Steve McNair caught us off guard. I was in Nashville, a few blocks away when I got the word he had been shot.

Which brings me to the theme of the year, “cheatin’ hearts.” McNair got a bullet for his adulterous lifestyle; Tiger Woods got a golf club attack; and South Carolina Sanford got humiliation for his Appalachian Trail excuse. Hadn’t they watched the John Edward’s debacle?

Thankfully, among the junk, stood one shiny hero, Captain Sully, the savior of the skies. The country needed someone who wasn’t out to be a reality star or a political pundit. Thanks to the quick thinking Sully, a bunch of folks will get to see 2010.

Another hero that took the world by storm was Susan Boyle. A plain woman with a silver smooth voice that became queen of YouTube and now has a record breaking CD. Her rags to riches story gives hope to many ugly people in the world because with enough talent and a good story, you can still succeed. As I always say, you can cure ugly.

The last of the hero gang comes from the hit movie Blindside. The Tuohy family is commended for taking in a hardship case, but the hero is Michael Oher, who through his own willingness to better himself because of who he was, made not only the Tuohy family, the surrounding community, but the whole world fall in love with him. He came from a very poor Memphis family, one of 16 kids and it was he who overcame his point six school grade average and he who worked hard with a tutor to pull it up so that he could play sports. When you think of it, a sport was just one part of his success story. It was lagniappe. Without being a top draft pick, playing professional football for the Baltimore Ravens, the story would have still been a good one, but now it’s a great one.

I wish the year was all about young men overcoming obstacles. It seems too many have surrendered to the dark side in 2009.

The review would not be complete without referencing a few stand out bad behaviors The main event was the Chris Brown attack on girlfriend Rihanna. I wrote about it in m column, “Hit me baby one more time.” Granted, I would probably be cheering if it were Mrs. Woods yielding the golf club on Mr. Woods, but then I should not promote violence against cheating men or anyone.

The year ended with Charlie Sheen spending Christmas in jail for violence against his wife. Seems we start and end with men behaving badly the middle had its share too. Don’t forget the Kanye West grabbing the microphone out of poor Taylor Swift’s hand incident. I found it ironic that in the year’s music hit countdown, Beyonce’s song was number 17, Kanye’s 16, and Swift right ahead of them at 15. Never doubt the power of the teen.

Kanye makes the naughty list, but the stupid list’s top dog is Balloon boy’s dad. Second, the Gosselin’s marital battle which I was forced to participate, and third, Levi, the bad baby daddy.

The worse part of 2009 has to be the economy and the political tug of war in our government.

It is the year of bailouts and stimulus packages that spend much of our hard earn money, which is jeopardizing the stability of this country, and for the first time, I really am worried about the future of the United States. It won’t come from the outside borders, but within our own mismanagement of what we have. We either balance our budgets, spend what we have, and pay our debts, or we slip into a cess pool of financial irresponsibility and end up as New China.

To make things worse when they are already pretty bad, we have had a massive change stuffed down our throats and I still don’t know what the urgency is? In my house, if we are going to make a major financial decision, we don’t rush into it.

I am concerned about the direction of our country. I don’t want to tax cow farts, raise our electric bills dramatically, and I don’t want to pay for everyone to have government health insurance. I have been without health insurance before and was never denied care.

It may not be equal to prime rib, but hamburger health care is still health care.

In 2009, we saw the power of Twitter and Facebook where now we are privy to the inner thoughts and activity of many a celebrity and wannabe celeb. Can this be a good thing? It has merit when it assisted the Iranian people revolt against an unjust election, but am I sure I want to know what Barbara Walters is having for breakfast? Do I have to know what my Facebook friends are doing every day?

The best part is keeping touch with friends and family that I had lost touch with, so that is good. Knowing they are fighting with their husbands, washing their dog, every detail of their kids’ life, and home movies galore, can put the whole facebook into the TMI category.

I guess at the end of this year, I can be grateful that I didn’t catch the dreaded Swine flu, although I did catch the hysteria. I spent hundreds of dollars for my eight year old to be tested at the emergency room during the height of fear because my doctor said I would have to know if he had it or not. Normally, I would have given him some Tylenol and he would have been good enough to make it to school by Monday.

As the year dies, I can at least have a vision of hope for the future. No, its not the job market bump that will surely dry up after the Christmas shopping season; no, its not the health care that everyone will receive after all the voting has passed; no, its not the hope that the Woods family will come together for the new year. My hope is for the first time in my life I may see a black and gold Super Bowl.

Of course, Sean Payton has got to find the defense — they lost it after the New England Patriot game.

Let’s hope this new year, this new decade will not only start out with hope, but even if we face great disappointment, we can value the good life we have. I can only dream.