- Bush was inaugurated after stealing the election. I wasn't thrilled but I had no idea how bad he would be.
- Shortly thereafter, September 11 totally destroyed our sense of security and issued in the Islamic fundamentalist war against America.
- We suffered through two wars: the war of choice against Iraq which just increased the number of Islamic fanatics who hate America - and the war in Afghanistan which was so terribly bungled that it is not only still ongoing but threatens our nation's security.
- There have been continued terrorist attacks all over the world - they can appear anywhere at any time.
- We started the decade with the bursting of "tech bubble" and ended it with a near total economic catastrophe. In between we had other economic disasters like Enron, WorldCom, etc. And don't forget all those big name companies that either disappeared or went bankrupt.
- The American Dream is disappearing. Middle class incomes declined during the decade, and unemployment rose. Housing values plummeted. The price of gas kept growing. The number of Americans without health insurance increased steadily, along with overall health care costs. The percentage living below the poverty line increased significantly, and the gap between the richest and the poorest got wider and wider.
- Then the disaster that affected us the most - Katrina and the bungling of the federal government.
- We had more mass murders and school shootings than any other decade - from the DC Sniper to the VA Tech shootings to the Ft Hood massacre.
- We even had endless scandals involving politicians and sports heroes - too numerous to mention.
It wasn't a good decade for me personally either. I endured cancer, divorce, and major financial setbacks. This New Year's Eve, more than any other, I am really looking forward to a new year - and a new decade. It can't be much worse, and there are many signs it might be a whole lot better. Starting next year (tomorrow), I'll be looking for those positive signs and making the most of them.
PS. I highly recommend this moving photographic essay of the decade which has been put together by the New York Times using photographs submitted by its readers.