Letters

Letters 05-23-2016

Examine The Priorities Are you disgusted about closing schools, crumbling roads and bridges, and cuts everywhere? Investigate funding priorities of legislators. In 1985 at the request of President Reagan, Grover Norquist founded Americans for Tax Reform (ATR). For 30 years Norquist asked every federal and state candidate and incumbent to sign the pledge to vote against any increase in taxes. The cost of living has risen significantly since 1985; think houses, cars, health care, college, etc...

Make TC A Community For Children Let’s be that town that invests in children actively getting themselves to school in all of our neighborhoods. Let’s be that town that supports active, healthy, ready-to-learn children in all of our neighborhoods...

Where Are Real Christian Politicians? As a practicing Christian, I was very disappointed with the Rev. Dr. William C. Myers statements concerning the current presidential primaries (May 8). Instead of using the opportunity to share the message of Christ, he focused on Old Testament prophecies. Christ gave us a new commandment: to love one another...

Not A Great Plant Pick As outreach specialist for the Northwest Michigan Invasive Species Network and a citizen concerned about the health of our region’s natural areas, I was disappointed by the recent “Listen to the Local Experts” feature. When asked for their “best native plant pick,” three of the four garden centers referenced non-native plants including myrtle, which is incredibly invasive...

Truth About Plants Your feature, “listen to the local experts” contains an error that is not helpful for the birds and butterflies that try to live in northwest Michigan. Myrtle is not a native plant. The plant is also known as vinca and periwinkle...

Ask the Real Plant Experts This letter is written to express my serious concern about a recent “Listen To Your Local Experts” article where local nurseries suggested their favorite native plant. Three of the four suggested non-native plants and one suggested is an invasive and cause of serious damage to Michigan native plants in the woods. The article is both sad and alarming...

My Plant Picks In last week’s featured article “Listen to the Local Experts,” I was shocked at the responses from the local “experts” to the question about best native plant pick. Of the four “experts” two were completely wrong and one acknowledged that their pick, gingko tree, was from East Asia, only one responded with an excellent native plant, the serviceberry tree...

NOTE: Thank you to TC-based Eagle Eye Drone Service for the cover photo, taken high over Sixth Street in Traverse City.

Home · Articles · News · Random Thoughts · So long to a dismal...
. . . .

So long to a dismal decade

Robert Downes - December 28th, 2009
So Long to a Dismal Decade
Remember what excitement there was in the air when we rang in 2000 on
New Year’s Eve 10 years ago?
No one knew whether the wheels would fall off civilization as a result
of the Y2K, but we were exhilarated by the dawn of a new millennium
and the thrill of witnessing another 1,000 years of human progress. I
recall joining friends at a local nightclub that night, listening to a
band called Daddy Longlegs as the clock ticked midnight, and wondering
what kind of amazing good time we were in for in the ’00s.
Flip ahead 10 years to a time when the joy has been sucked out of that
balloon by what has been one of the most dismal decades in American
history: a time that included 9/11, two wars,
Hurricane Katrina, and one of the worst recessions ever. In a Pew
Research Center survey, Americans stated by nearly a two-to-one (50%
to 27%) margin that the 2000s had been a negative time for America.
On the other hand, 59% of Americans believe that the 2010s will be
better, so let’s dish out another bowl of that New Year’s Eve
exhilaration in the hope of better times ahead.
Although the ’00s have been a dark time for America, and Michigan in
particular, we still have reason to be grateful that things are not as
bad off as they could be. Although we have unemployment topping more
than 10% in Michigan, we don’t have hundreds of thousands of people
living homeless on the street, with only a cardboard mattress for a
bed and the sky for a roof. That’s the fate of millions around the
world... but not here.
We still live in a land where big box stores need to take precautions
at Christmas so that customers don’t get trampled to death in the rush
for flat screen TVs when the doors open on Black Friday.
So here are a few contrarian things to be grateful for as the calendar
turns to 2010:
• Be grateful that when the Twin
Towers fell in September, 2001, that the Bill of Rights wasn’t
vaporized along with them. True, there were encroachments on privacy
with the Patriot Act, and many Americans turned a blind eye to
torture, secret prisons and a unilateral war based on lies. But
somehow we pulled through that ugly time and those ills are on the
wane. Guantanamo prison is set to close in the coming year and
waterboarding has been roundly condemned as barbaric. Are we better
people now than we were when 2000 rolled around? Probably not, but
surely we’re a bit wiser.
• We’re not in a Great Depression. Recessions are painful and seem to
last forever for those who are jobless in their midst, but they come
and go every 10 years or so in America, and this one will pass.
Things could have been much worse: Although there has been a great
deal of criticism of bailing out America’s banks with TARP funds, it
was that action which prevented the far greater disaster of a global
depression.
• The endless “War on Terror” seems to be finally over. Remember the
color-coded alerts? Remember the whole country living in a constant
state of fear over some guys wearing sandals and living in caves half
a world away?
• As imperfect as it seems, the health care reform bill moving through
Congress will ultimately benefit both citizens and our economy. I
know of many uninsured friends and relatives who’d lose their homes or
be forced into bankruptcy as the result of even a few days of a
hospital stay. That’s an ill situation which we should remedy in the
2010s.
• Be thankful that Michigan still has a manufacturing infrastructure.
Our state is reinventing and rebooting itself, as is the entire world.
New ‘green’ technologies in automobiles, energy and mass transit are
taking shape, and Michigan still has the resources to benefit from
them.
We’ll see the ice break on Michigan’s fortunes for the simple reason
that many Americans have held onto their cars and trucks for an extra
year or two through the recession. Those vehicles are wearing out, and
soon there will be a demand for the new generation of hybrid/electric
products from Michigan automakers.
• We’re thankful that the war in Iraq is winding up, even as we deal
with the consequences of 5,288 American service persons dead and
35,000 wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not to mention more than
100,000 Iraqis who died, or millions driven from their homes as
refugees.
On that score, there’s one thing we can’t be grateful for as 2010
comes into view: that we still believe that war is a solution, rather
than a curse.
I personally am grateful that Northern Express Weekly has weathered
the great “newspaper apocalypse” of 2008-2009, and has in fact
thrived. We owe that to our magnificent staff (hard-working, selfless
geniuses, every one) and to you, our loyal readers (smarter than
average and certainly better looking). Here’s hoping that all your
dreams come true in the 2010s. Happy New Year, and New Decade.

 
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