September 11, 2001.
Then Afghanistan, Iraq. The shoe bomber. John Walker Lindh. More global terrorism - Bali. Madrid. Right here in London. A lot of fear and seeming determination by our leaders to use that fear for their own ends rather than to allay our fears through competence and calm.
Some ugly midterm elections, a 2004 Presidential election fought on more fearmongering. A 51-49 reelection for the nincompoop who was messing everything up, shortly followed by more disasters, and eventually... hurricane Katrina.
Then, in 2006, victory for the Democrats in Congress, the beginning of a sense that maybe we could see a way out of this, but still gridlock for the country's agenda because nothing could get through. And then finally, with the Democratic Primary, the rise of what started to seem like a real and intelligent debate about where the country could go.
And here we are today.
I'll be glad to see this decade come to an end. And even gladder that it is ending with American leaders (not just the President, mind you) who I can respect. I'm as glad as I can possibly be that it is ending passage through the Senate of the most comprehensive, progressive reform of the health care system that the US has ever achieved.
May the 2010's bring peace, prosperity, and most of all wisdom to each of you.
Happy New Year!