Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Year In Rearview

Look, for my part, the year 2010 cannot go away fast or far enough.
Between the crappy cynical pandering by Teabaggers to the lowest common denominator of a minority of the American electorate to the health issues I dealt with to the fact that my mom is racing the end of the year to end first, this has been a pretty shitty ride.
So in my inimitable fashion, fuck the bad, let's focus on the good stuff!
1) Healthcare reform -- it was nasty business, it was exceedingly poorly handled, a blind kindergartener could have done a better job of promoting the benefits, but America joined the civilized world.
Sort of. There's a lot of room for improvement there, and one hopes in 2013, we will see it roll in.
2) The laughable joke that passes for "populism" -- From The Wicked Witch Of The West(ern Delaware) to Sharon Angle, the Teabaggers, while generally successful in electing minor candidates to federal posts, had an epic fail in terms of persuading the population that they are a serious political force to be reckoned with. My suspicion is they have blown their only real chance, however it's possible they may end up shooting the GOP in the foot. Sarah Palin, while moderately successful with her carefully chosen endorsements, was not the game changed she hoped to be and her final throes in 2010, trying to refudiate saying "refudiate" while gobs of tape proved her a self-involved liar, only served to nail the coffin shut on her presidential aspirations, such as they were.
3) Jon Stewart/Stephen Colbert and The Rally To Restore Sanity And/Or Fear -- A more delightful event could not have been planned by anyone else. While remaining strictly-- perhaps frustratingly-- non-partisan and entertaining...maybe the opening performance by The Roots could have been shorter, but there was probably some stuff going on that we didn't know about...Stewart and to an extent Colbert brought to the near-undivided attention of Americans the, um, divide that presents itself upon the electorate.
Some of this was necessary. Some of it smacked of patronization and even condescension (the attempt to make an equivalence between the teeth-bared partisanship of FOX with the balance of MSNBC was a little discomfiting from Stewart) but the entire event was at once eye-opening, refreshing and reassuring. We are America. We are Americans. From the Muslim selling the newspaper to the Sikh running the dry cleaner to the Korean driving the taxi to the Jewish doctor and Presbyterian lawyer, to the bald guy in the SUV with the gun rack driving next to the soccer mom in her Volvo in the Holland Tunnel, what unites us is truly more important than what divides us, and we ought to honor that.
4) The San Francisco Giants -- I don't plug baseball on my blog much but I am an huge fan of the game, and the Giants were a real American story: cast-offs and has-beens let go by other teams for a song played above their heads and collectively went from mutts to pedigrees. That they play for the gayest city in America is just a plus. 
5) The repeal of DADT -- Well, what can I say? Harry Reid found his balls, and gave thousands of soldiers back theirs. And those are just the women!
6) Chilean Mine Rescue -- Really, why did it take a "third world" nation to show us in America how it's done? Good grief, it's CHILE! I know, I know, Chile is actually one of the most progressive nations on the planet, nevermind South America, and has much to show for themselves, but come ON!
7) The World Cup -- South Africa, indeed the entire African continent, deserves high marks for hosting the quadrennial meeting of men in shorts. Not only were the games held safely and securely, not only were old animosities put aside...I'm looking at you, Portugal and Spain!...not only were the Americans embarassed once again in a sport that the rest of the world deems "it", but the energy of the audiences and the nation were stunning enough that you could safely ignore the vuvuzelas.
From time to time.
Y'know, the temptation to round this out to a Top Ten list is strong, so I think story number 8 for good news this year is that I stopped the list at story number 7.
Have a Happy New Year, my friends, my readers!