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Opening Arguments

Not so bad

Sometimes I might seem a litle gloomy, but I'm a cockeyed optimist compared to some people today. Time magazine calls the oughts the "decade from hell" ("This decade was as awful as any peacetime decade in the nation's entire history") and Americans rate the current decade as the "worst in 50 years":

As the current decade draws to a close, relatively few Americans have positive things to say about it. By roughly two-to-one, more say they have a generally negative (50%) rather than a generally positive (27%) impression of the past 10 years. This stands in stark contrast to the public's recollection of other decades in the past half-century. When asked to look back on the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s and 1990s, positive feelings outweigh negative in all cases.

Wow. As awful as any peacetime decade in history. Really? Worse than the Great Depression 1930s? And since when is a period with two ongoing wars called a "peace decade"? And least the people who put the Pew poll together are smart enough to know that "the passage of time may affect the way people view these historical periods." We tend to be more negative about our own time and more warmly nostalgic about previous ones.

There have been some awful things this decade, starting with 9/11 and ending with economic turmoil and uncertainty. But there have been astonishing technological breakthroughs. We're learning mroe about the human body, what makes it tick and go wrong. We get along better racially and ethnically, despite some bumps in the road on the way, and are generally more tolerant than previous generations.


Wed, 12/23/2009 - 11:20pm

Actually, I thought it was the worst decade of my life. I can't speak for any decade prior to the 50s, though.
But the same thing jumped out at me: Peacetime?
We got attacked in 2001, retaliated against Afghanistan and then, for some reason, occupied Iraq. We're still fighting in both countries, despite Obama's promise to at least get us out of Iraq. If this is peacetime, I'd hate to see war.
In fact, those wars are a big part of why the decade sucked. Throw in Katrina and a massive recession, stir and bring to a boil. Enjoy!