Copyright © 1999 Henrietta W. Hay
Happy New Year!
January 1, 1999
Three hundred and sixty-five days and counting until the millenium! I
found a great quote from National Review by way of Mother Jones, "I have
a dream. Suppose we wake up on New Year's Day 2000 and find that the
computers are right--it really is 1900."
My parents were in their teens when this century began. I wonder what
they thought about it. At least they didn't have to worry about their
computers. But people then were forecasting the end of the world, even
as some are today. Instead we got a century which brought more changes
than all the recorded history that preceded it.
This is the time of year when I re-read the year's mail. This year for
the first time almost all of it came in the form of e-mail. I try to
answer all the messages, but I hope you forgive me for the ones that
slip by. Either I am mellowing, or people are becoming more tolerant,
but most of them have been friendly and favorable, or at least polite.
I enjoy and appreciate every one-- well, nearly every one.
There is one exception. Every time I have mentioned either Hillary or
Bill Clinton, the messages pour in. In some the hatred is so vicious
all I will do is hit the Delete button. The supporting letters are
probing, and searching for answers and those I appreciate.
It is hardly a surprise to anyone who knows me that I believe a woman
should be free to choose, free of governmental interference, whether or
not to have an abortion. To my surprise, most of the mail on the
subject agreed with me. One woman wrote, "This morning as I was reading
your column-- wanted to jump up on my kitchen chair and shout with
joy." Others varied from, "Hit the nail right on the head," to "Right
on." On the other hand, one thoughtful letter began with, "I was
deeply upset by your column about the abortion issues." We disagreed,
but it was a civil disagreement.
I did get an answer to one question I asked. Writing about the
Internet, I suggested that nobody knows for sure who legally owns space
and one writer informed that God does. That solves that one.
People of varying ages liked the ones on aging. One woman wrote, "I am
a mere youngster of 65....I do believe that we ought to celebrate every
year we attain simply because there is so much that is useful,
thrilling, challenging etc. in the year we just finished." Another
said, "At last there is a word to describe us (woopies). Of course
there's always older than dirt, but that's at least 15 years older than
I am now." One kind soul said, "I hope you live to be at least 150 and
keep writing all those years." Whoa -- wait a minute. Let's not get
There are a lot of mystery fans out there. I want to thank all the
readers who share my reading hobby and have given me titles and authors
I hadn't found yet.
Guess I punched several buttons with the ACLU one. One man wrote,
"Until they show they are for all people's rights, including my right to
own a gun, I have NO respect for the ACLU. I believe they are left wing
radicals." If the defense of civil liberties is a radical idea, call
me a radical.
I got a response from Rep. Gayle Berry on the subject of discourse.
"Some of the greatest compliments I receive from constituents are those
which express the fact that while we may disagree on the specific issue
at hand, they always know I will listen and honestly share with them my
views. That give and take is the vital element of discourse." She and
I may not agree on every issue, but we are going to sit down over lunch
and have a civilized discourse on politics.
If ever in the history of the Republic there was a need for civil
discourse it is now. I can only hope that 1999 is a better political
year than 1998, or we are in very deep trouble. I like what Sue O'Brien
wrote about the mess in Washington in the Denver Post.
the American people would rise up and roar, 'Enough! You kids go to
your rooms and don't come out until you can play nicely.'"
Happy New Year.