What is there to say? 2009 has been no ordinary year while 2010 begins with a feeling of quiet desperation, wandering around in an increasingly surreal twilight. Of course it seems like all our years are extraordinary these days. But this past year began with such hope with the election of our new African-American president–not just for America but for people across the planet–as evidenced by President Obama’s recent Nobel Peace Prize. For many, the last vestiges of hope were rather callously dashed when Obama approved of adding 30,000 more troops in Afghanistan just three days before he received the Nobel Peace Prize this Fall and proceeded to give a speech lauding ‘War as Peace’ (remind you of anything??).
Obama is not the leader most of the world thought he would be. He is instead, as he actually claimed, a centrist Democrat, much in the style of Bill Clinton. In many ways he is so centrist he leans decidedly towards the right. Ronald Reagan is after all one of his heroes. Certainly his claims for “Change” are largely illusory since he represents Wall Street and the Big Banks, the War Economy, Health Care Reform for the Big Insurance Companies (and not the little guy as hoped) and in actuality, helped to create more chaos in Copenhagen concerning Global Warming through his appalling lack of organized leadership. His Administration had nearly eleven months to prepare–and what happened? Basically nothing except Obama went there as a kind of (confusing) symbolic act. America’s pathetic promise to reduce emissions by 17% in 2020 is a case in point (Obama as you might recall just asked for 15%–it was the Republicans who politicked for the additional 2%).
As a result neither Left nor Right seems happy, though I am betting certain Republicans have a wicked little smile behind their complaints. Many are probably thinking that with Obama as president they couldn’t have gotten a better Christmas present. After all, the Left is becoming seriously alienated with their new obfuscating President on almost every important issue that has been up this past year. For instance it is now claimed the “Recession is over” while the job market remains seriously depressed with no end in sight. And on top of it all more and more people on the Left are now convinced there is no purpose for them to participate in politics (since just look at what happened when they did!).
If the Health Insurance Bill actually passes both houses in Congress without the public option and is signed by the ebullient Obama (which appears to be what will happen), a great many Americans will end up being very unhappy. Those on the Right will see it as indicative of wasteful Big Government spending. And those on the Left are upset since the Health Insurance Bill without the public option is less than appealing. However one looks at it, it appears the public will be left with a bill that supports the Big Insurance companies while creating extra expense for the average American at a time when most can ill afford it. Additionally the Senate amendment, which makes abortion insurance more expensive and complex (by having to pay for it with a separate check), is a huge slap in the face of most women.
Its supposed to be a brand New Year of positive Change — instead what we have gotten is our hopes for a better world turned upside down. The Left needs reinventing and the Middle has been made into a mockery. In a year when the Right should be feeling pretty low, they now have gotten a big boost towards winning the next round of elections.
This just won’t do. We had eight years of Bush — which basically created a world of economic, social and impending climate catastrophe. There needs to be Change like most of America (and the world) wanted. The last thing this planet needs is for us all to do nothing — if only to avert catastrophic levels of Global Warming (its not going to go away by itself!!).
This New Year seems to me to represent the twilight of our collective illusions. It seems as a body politic that we Americans need to look even farther inward before anything moves on the surface. We are after all involved with the famed impending Apocalypse–which is turning out to be more true than I would have ever thought. Many of us continue to struggle financially, which takes much of our time and makes many of us unable or unwilling to do anything political other than perhaps participate in sending mass emails.
2010 looks difficult, bereft as it is of the hope we had last year. It feels like many of us are wandering around in the dimming air as we watch President Obama and the Democratically controlled Congress with disbelief. Perhaps we are all just gestating. It is my hope that when it is time for us to break out of our shell more people will begin to incorporate their personal healing work and spirituality into politics which will help inform right action. Which is not to say it will be easy. It will be hard work. No matter how you call it, politics as usual just isn’t working. I for one look forward to when politics can take new shape again. For now its slow beginnings.
Meanwhile, as I see it, we as creative people need to dig deep to express our deepest feelings personally and collectively while at the same time begin to learn to hang together to better negotiate the coming times.
Hello all you Mickey Mouse fans! WTF!
So you thought you voted for a Democrat and it was gonna be all liberal and touchy-feely and we were all gonna have a love fest.
The party is over. Honestly, I would have preferred an iron fist over the velvet glove, but I have to admit that Obama has used the velvet glove to some advantage. If you read liberal blogs like Huffingtonpost, today they have an article saying 2010 is going to be a tough one for Democrats. I think it ought to be a tough one for Democrats with no balls. Its all well and good to have a party that is inclusive, but it sucks if the main wing of your party is betrayed by an urge for political expediency. IBID and all of the above to the comments made. The problem is its too depressing. I want a better world, not a bunch of %$WE%$E^%E^%.
Its not all black and white. If you want something close to my perspective on health care, read Howard Dean. While considered somewhat of a rebel, I believe he is closer to the center of what the true Democratic Party is. I think having a government run health care system with no choice but private for profit providers is a compromise that no one is satisfied with but politicians who want to go home for Christmas saying they have a bill. Its just a fricking pile of horsepucky. The emperor has no clothes. There is no change. Instead of change, it is institutionalizing the present system with a government enforced mandate. If there was a choice between private and public health care I would not mind. With this bill you will have no choice. And talk about lack of regulation…now the health care companies are totally free to gouge without any competition whatsoever! The lobbyists have succeeded in backpeddling the reformers so badly that all they are doing is giving away the farm. What’s next? Private industry takes over Medicare and Social Securtiy? That was already starting under Bush. We narrowly avoided having the entire Social Security System collapse because it would have been linked to private investment in the stock market. NO NO NO NO NO. The madness that started years ago where Repugs advocated privatizing everything has to be recognized for the train wreck it is. The election should have been a referendum for the rejection of the policied that lead us to this combined disaster. The disaster is not the stock market, not the health care system, not the abuse of separation of powers that lead to the Gonzales fiasco, not _______, not _______, or not even ________. Stop looking at individual events and thinking fixing one of them is gonna change anything . Look at the big picture. STOP PRIVATIZATION! QUIT BEING IN LOVE WITH CAPITALISM AND GREED. Recognize also that we are implicitly and explicitly all part of it. Oppose this Health Care Bill sellout. Oppose the ridiculous, laughable, slap on the hand with a silk glove deal the banks and brokerage houses are getting. Most of all recognize that the Repubs have fallen in love with it. Point out the reality of it. End their drunken blind love with it. Privatization and laissez-faire economics are so FU that even Alan Greenspan went in front of Congress and admitted it was a complete and utter, abject failure. And he was a died in the wool, life long devotee of this philosophy. Stop pretending that trickle down and this whole thing was anything other than just a drunks nightmare hangover. There are reasons for government. NO, government is not bad. Its bad when people shirk their responsibility to hold government to its promises. If liberals do not slap their representatives unconscious and tell them to deliver, the Repubs have a legitimate means of criticizing the results. Meanwhile, the desires of reformers have been twisted. So haven’t we had enough of privatization?Wasn’t Enron, and Blackwater and the Second Great Depression enough to convince anyone that regulation is not only necessary, but vital? Hasn’t anyone noticed the horrible results of China’s lack of regulation? What happens to American goods if people do not think food and other items are not protected by the FDA? What happens when people think the government is playing fast and loose with the banks? Yeah, that’s right. The goods become worthless. People make a run on the banks. The system collapes. We just saw some of it happen. Luckily, those philosophies did not have their way. We still have Medicare(although watered down) and Social Security. We still have government run armed forces, not Blackwater. We need to go back to not-for-profit health care. We have the worst health care system in the world. Wake up to reality. No the recession is not over. Its a depression. They are different. Forget inflation. We have just had the biggest drop in value in a lifetime. The dollar has plummetted. House values have plummetted. The only thing going up is the cost of oil. And that is only because it is running out. Now we have a world with bigger problems. This is not a time for cowards.
This is a real nice post i also bookmarked your site and look for more updates. thanks.