Baby 2009 has only just been catapulted squealing into our arms and already her diaper is loaded and in need of a change. Time moves fast. Deadlines approach. Quandaries call out for resolution. Even if the problems we face haven’t changed – culture wars, environmental deterioration, undying greed – we can use this new year as an opportunity to look at them with new eyes.
The incompetent sleazebags of the Bush administration pat themselves on the back for a world well-plundered as Bush himself designs last-minute legislation under the radar to make sure all the bolts are nice and loose for the poor guy that got his job. Bush has single-handedly expanded migrant worker programs to depress wages and working conditions, opened our waterways to the dumping of waste from strip-mining coal companies, forced truckers to work fatally exhausting hours, exempted power plants from reducing their air pollution output in residential areas, sprouted horns and a crown of fire and has begun speaking in tongues.
Don’t believe me? Check out the piece in the Huffington Post by United Steelworkers International president Leo Gerard. Or Rupert Cornwell of The Independent. Both good.
These reactionary policies reveal the real value structure of the last eight years before Bush’s overdue curtain call. But then, maybe these are distractions from something really despicable going on behind the scenes, like if Bush is enriching his constituents who contribute nothing to society by plundering the taxpayers directly and not tracking the money – oh, right. That was just the bailout. No worries, then.
Bush’s midnight slurry of reactionary fascist programs will be challenging for Obama to reverse before their negative effects hit home, but I can sleep at night by telling myself they will at least be reversed. It’s tough to see a sea change in political sentiment, however, when the New Kid on the Block has declared himself as staunch an ally of Israel of, well, everyone since Truman. Israel’s policy of oppressing Palestinians into oblivion has somehow won our support. Rather than facilitating talks between our nuclear-armed ally and the diffused ethnic group they slap around, we’ve supplied Israel with arms and technology through the entire campaign of violence.
The current conflict in Gaza is no different. We stopped only short of decorating Olmert with the Medal of Freedom for his humanitarian work on resolving sectarian disputes through a successful war. Maybe there is some chance of change – Israel seems to be rushing their murderous territory-grab to get done before that wild card hits the Oval Office. I hope this Obama guy can get it right for once. Like when he wanted to legalize cannabis. Remember that?
We all should be throwing shoes. After Muntather Zaidi made the groundbreaking pitches, Bush should have been faced by more political shoe-tosses around every corner. The White House lawn should have been eclipsed by rogue footwear. Shoes should have joined “pretzels” “whistleblowers” and “former terrorist allies” on Bush’s “to fear“ list. Make this year the year to speak your mind, break the mold and make changes for the better. There’s time left.
Certainly it is this year that allows for an unprecedented staging ground for a new world. The options are open. This could be a year of shortage, disorder and internecine competition between selfish nations resisting a global reordering, clinging to the failed and failing systems that have starved and impoverished the greater of humanity for centuries.
We could take power into our own hands and build a world more compassionate and united, able to overcome the aggregated consequences of a legacy of incomprehension. The human soul will survive into the infinite if we become its caretakers and custodians. 2009 is here. Make it more than just a number.
CHEYA CARY wishes you luck on the resolutions you haven’t broken already. E-mail him at email@example.com