Ups and Downs of the decade.

It’s been a tumultuous decade for sure. It feels like more bad than good happened, which has many folks glad to see it end. For me personally it’s been no worse or better than previous decades. Some very good things have happened and some very bad things have happened. Such is life. But let’s take a cursory look at the decade past.

 Terrorism – If I had to pick one paradigm that has had the worst effect on the decade I would say it has to be terrorism. It started out bad with the 9/11 attacks and got worse from there. Those attacks led us into the two wars we are still fighting. They have taken from us many freedoms and rights we had long taken for granted. They have made airline travel miserable. They caused widespread economic chaos which snowballed into the mess we have to deal with now. And contrary to the sick, twisted logic of those perpetrating terrorism, these incidents have done nothing to improve the state of humanity in general or Islam in particular. In fact, they’ve made things far worse all around.

 Technology – This one may come with a small caveat, as not all the technology advances bode well for the future, but by and large technology has moved us closer to that vision of the 21st century we all marvelled at in the 60’s and 70’s on sci-fi TV shows. We have the ability to instantly communicate with people around the globe by flipping open the communicator in our hand. We can see folks in distant lands and speak to them in real time on our little desktop boxes. We can watch the sun rise live in Europe from our living rooms in the US. We can buy virtually anything  by typing a few things on the laptop while sitting in front of our fireplaces. We can watch the human heart beating in 3D while we look for anomalies which would have remained hidden and killed us in years past. We can walk away unscathed from car wrecks which would have once been fatal. And we can watch movies in our own homes on screens that would have been the envy of all theatre-goers not so long ago. I’m currently thinking of buying a device about the size of a piece of bubble gum which will hold 2000 songs and play them back at CD quality or better. Now I just have to think of 2000 songs to load on it.

 Politics – Still the same con game it’s always been. Whoever coined the name “public servant” never really knew a politician. 

 Boston Sports -Ok, this one’s a little less profound than the rest, but this has been the decade for the Boston teams to shine. Sox, Pats, and Celtics have all brought us championships. Even the Bruins looked decent the last few years. It’s been a good decade to be a Boston fan.

 Natural Disasters – Hurricanes, earthquakes, and a particularly nasty tsunami cost the lives of countless people. The earth can be a very unfriendly place to live sometimes.

 The Economy – While my personal economic situation has improved nicely this decade, the economy in general took a beating. For the most part the blame lies with the greedy and power-hungry. The shift of wealth away from the many and into the hands of a few has been staggering. For several years we were getting soaked by the oil companies. Then the banks and investment houses played their ponzi schemes with our savings while the real estate market conspired to raise housing prices into the absurd range. And now the government is spending us into the poor house for the next century while promising us fair and equal health care is soon to be a reality. Anyone believe that one? 

This past year in particular has been hard on me with some health issues and the death of my father. I gladly say goodbye to 2009 and look forward, albeit cautiously, to 2010. Any improvement over this past year will be a welcomed relief.