Roger L. Simon

2010: A Year of Living Dangerously?

(Sergey Guneev/Sputnik via AP)

I never bought into the Y2K business and the year 2000 was not that big a deal to me. I’m not into conspiracies or magic numbers anyway. But there is something about our new baby 2010 that has my attention. I hesitate to make predictions. I’m almost always wrong. But if there ever were a “A Year of Living Dangerously,” this could be it. The USA – and the world – is at a crossroads.

These thoughts started coming to me on my return from my recent trip to Copenhagen for the UN Climate Conference. One thing was clear from that event. Few were interested in climate science or the veracity of the link between CO2 and global warming, but many were interested in money and controlto be gained from them. Very interested.

Ironically, I flew back on a Northwest flight run by Delta. Sound familiar? Like Abdulmutallab, I was originally scheduled to fly via Amsterdam, but changed my reservation to go back through Atlanta. Obviously, this was several days before the events of December 25, but it was the same airlines and some of the same airports. (I had flown over through Amsterdam’s Schipol.) So everything was amplified.

And it was on the eve of that same December 25 that the gigantic health care legislation that almost no one had read was passed by our Senate. Again, it seemed not be about health at all, but about control and, of course, money.

Meanwhile – was it just an accident, a confluence of events? – democracy demonstrators were being gunned down and run over in the streets of Tehran and our government said next to nothing.

So, for the first time, maybe it was reading Hayek, that I worried we could conceivably be losing our democracy. Apocalyptic? Yes, sure. But still an ominous thought that will not go away. 2010 could indeed be a Year of Living Dangerously.

Our two-party system would normally be a consolation, but the Republicans, alas, are not impressive, especially at their higher levels of leadership. The names currently being bandied about as presidential candidates don’t resonate for me. But perhaps leaders are not the point. The Tea Party movement shows potential, if – and it must – it grows beyond people waving funny signs. We are in crunch time, as they say. As our (non-existent) money gets spent at levels beyond comprehension, we had better stop it now or our lives and our children’s lives will never be the same. Happy New Year.