The end of the aughts, thanks be to God
But just as the AOL deal, the last hurrah of the roaring ’90s, contained the seeds of that happy epoch’s undoing, so too do the final ignominies of the Aughts, maybe, offer some turning point of their own. Though we may still reflexively blame our national penury on some specific Them — and though we might even be right about it — it’s a lot harder now to hide from reality. Our institutions and our icons and our dollars may be discredited, but at least we’ve shed some illusions.
Yes, we all (right and left) continue to blame them. Maybe in the last couple of years there are a few rays of compassion shining into our self-centered society. That compassion may help us to look honestly at who we are, which could lead us to understand that they are us.
So, good riddance, Aughts. Here’s wishing that the decade to come will be richer and more peaceful. And maybe that it’ll have better TV, too, even for those of us who won’t pay for HBO. But in the spirit that the new decade needs most — non-bunkered, mutually agreed-upon reality — it’s probably best not to expect those things. Still, the Aughts didn’t quite extinguish our ability to hope.
For me, personally, these last ten years have been wonderful. I’m not sure that they’ve been so good for our planet or our society. Despite a global economic slowdown, unrepentant greed continues. Cultural clashes (9/11 and Anglican schisms come to mind) that might have been a wake-up call for the need to form better relationships have instead caused us to build bigger walls.
Let’s hope that the next ten years are better — more justice, more health, more relationships, more compassion — because of what we’ve learned this decade. And some better TV would be nice.
(Yes, dear persnickety readers, I agree that the next decade really begins in 2011, but it’s hardly worth the effort to swim against the tide.)