Copyright © 2005 Henrietta W. Hay
January 7, 2005
2004 -- The year had its good news and its bad news. The good news first. Hmmmm: there wasn't much.
I think the year 2004 has been a disaster, ending, of course, with the horrible disaster in southern Asia. Considering the most important stories of the year, I don't think that any can compare with the American election and the war. Well, maybe the Red Sox winning the World Series came close.
I know, we are supposed to be gracious losers. George Bush will be our President for the next four years and we may as well relax and accept it. But he was elected by barely 51% of the votes, and owed the 59,054,887 Americans who disagreed with his policies a little grace in winning. But instead of making at least a gesture of cooperation or even acknowledgment of those who voted against him, he promptly announced that he "earned capital in the campaign and now I intend to spend it." And wow, is he spending it. He wants to rip up Social Security, cut taxes when we have a $3 trillion budget deficit. He fought the passage of the 9/11 Commission report for a long time, and then reversed himself and pushed it through Congress. He fired the cabinet members who have dared to disagree with him now and then. All this and more before he is even sworn in.
Perhaps the most frightening of all to a lot of Republicans as well as Democrats, was his announcement that God speaks through him. Molly Ivins commented that "God hasn't learned how to spell nuclear." The Religious Right helped elect him, and now he owes them.
The Far Right talked of values during the ejection, but their "values" seem to be mostly political. They have turned their religious beliefs into political weapons. Their immutability makes compromise nearly impossible.
Same sex marriage is a social problem and not a constitutional one.
Most Americans are willing to accept civil unions, and there is room for compromise without a constitutional amendment
Abortion has been an issue for many years. I think most rational pro choice people would be willing to compromise by banning late term abortions so long as the health of the mother is a consideration, and doctors are not made criminals. But in exchange abortion on demand during the first trimester should be legal. Bush is appointing judges who are openly anti-abortion under any circumstance.
Stem cell research has the potential for curing a number of very serious diseases. It deserves thought and study from the administration rather than absolute opposition.
The Administration's handling of the Iraq War has cost us the goodwill of many nations around the world and over 1000 American lives. I hope the next four years will be used to correct this. The war, however, seems like a tragic mess without a solution.
Over coffee recently, we discussed the power of nature compared to the power of mankind. Exact figures are impossible to find, but using the ones on the Web, American deaths from wars from the Revolution through Iraq totaled 661,993. Hiroshima killed 210,000 Japanese plus 130,000 within weeks afterward. I don't have the figures for all natural disasters, but the last one in southern Asia is estimated to be above 150,000.
Perhaps a lesson we learned in 2004 is that mankind is more to be feared than nature.
With that cheerful thought, I bid you a Happy 2005.