I remember counting down the final days to 2000.
There was quite a bit of apprehension in the air. What would happen at precisely 12 am on January 1, 2000? Would all of the computers in the world suddenly cease functioning? Would the lights go out? Would everything stop dead in its tracks and force society back into some dreary dark age of silicone?
People hoarded bottled water and canned food and blankets and batteries and gasoline and probably a few people made friends with Jesus just in case, you know, things got REALLY bad.
However, the sun rose the next day. Computers continued to function, electricity hummed and gas continued to come forth as expected. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief and all of the usual "end of days" doomsayers were once again ridiculed and scorned.
Life continued as expected....
Fears and misgivings were generally forgotten or at least stowed comfortably in the back of our consciousness...
And then September 11, 2001 happened. When those twin towers collapsed, our innocence and our notions of invulnerability as a nation crumbled with them. How about this to be afraid of: Your friend, your neighbor, maybe even a family member could harbor such a secret hate in his heart, such a blind devotion to a radicalized faith that he could strap a bomb to his chest and blow you and your children to very itty bitty not so pretty pieces! Or steer a plane through the window of your workplace, or release some hellish chemical agent to kill you dead where you stand. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to terrorism on American soil. Makes worrying about computer glitches and the turning of a calendar seem kinda silly, doesn't it?
And guess what? This "war on terror" has no borders, no walls, no definable geography...it's a war against radicalized religion. Kinda hard to fight the enemy when he has no discernible shape or size or location...
But in order to put a face to the enemy President Bush decided to send our military to Iraq. Depending on what was going on on that particular day we were simultaneously looking to kill Bin Laden...or not. We blew up Saddam Hussein real good, though. We threw a rope around his neck and hung him-even watched the video on youtube-which wasn't a bad idea, really-I just don't see how he was related to 9/11. Anyways...
Back at home do we clear away the debris and rebuild? Nah. We still have a big hole in our heart right there where those towers stood.
So, in the middle of all of this in 2005 we have hurricane Katrina come along and devastate New Orleans. Many of us sat spellbound with horror in front of our televisions as the government did lots and lots of nothing and FEMA proved to be as incompetent as then President Bush.
The end of the decade was marked by economic collapse on mainstreet and Americas diminished capacity to manufacture quality products. Jobs, job, jobs, oh where have they gone? And when will they return?
All in all I think the 00's were a decade of FEAR and CRISIS and I hope the future is a little brighter.

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