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In Theory: Biggest memories of the 2000s

January 02, 2010

The first decade of the 21st century is coming to a close. For you, what has been the most memorable experience so far this decade? What advice can you share with our readers to make this new year and decade a prosperous one?

Perhaps the most extraordinary moment of the decade was that toward its end, an election was won by someone using the campaign slogan “Yes we can!” when, clearly, so much that had happened in the decade had said “No, we can’t. We thought we could and we thought we were; but it turns out we’re not and we can’t.”

Many fine and wonderful things happened this decade. But overall, the bottom dropped out from under us, as Americans. Things we thought we knew, about our safety, our moral prestige in the world, our status as the richest and happiest place on Earth, were all brought into question, if not toppled outright.


Natural disasters shook the planet, and came to places we know. And trouble leaped off the pages of the newspaper and raged through our living rooms, as our own jobs disappeared, and mortgages were threatened, and savings and pensions were lost.

But after all that was said and done — while it was still in fact happening — someone came along, toward the close of the decade, and mentioned hope. And while we had every right to sneer — and some did — a lot of us cocked our heads and listened.

Hope, you say?

Why yes, I believe I will. I think I do have another Camelot in me, somewhere.

I am an unabashed fan of President Obama; but even if you’re not, you’ve got to admit that it’s extraordinary that someone — anyone — could win an election in this country at the end of this decade with all its disasters, based on a strategy of hope.

Remember the old “Star Trek” series, and how it always seemed to end with some cheesy Captain Kirk speech about how the human spirit can’t be defeated, no matter how overwhelming the odds? I thought it was as silly as the idea that you could flip open a little box and talk to someone through it.

This decade has proven me wrong, on both points.

Here, then, is my thought and prayer for a new year and a new decade — Hope is possible. Yes, it is.


St. George’s Episcopal Church in La Cañada

My most memorable experience in terms of “shock value” was the terror attack of Sept. 11, 2001.

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