Fries With That?
I'd like to welcome you to the first ever 'fries with that?' – the 'fast food' version of the news for those of us who don't follow the long, drawn out TV version. This week's column, however, is going to be about some of those events that we think were the highlights of 2004 - A Leader's Farewell, Battles Are Won, The Freedom to Vote, Media Changes, Natural Selection, A Year of Trials. And The Red Sox. Sit back and enjoy your fries...
A Leader's Farewell
An amazing man both in and out of politics. Ronald Reagan was indeed a great American. While other presidents courageously led us during wars, he courageously kept the peace. Not through weakness, not through spineless negotiation, but by calling evil by its name, not being afraid to say there's a right and a wrong, and believing that America was and is the shining city on a hill.
He was a great man who inspired others to pursue that same greatness. He also happened to be a conservative.
2004 saw the loss of one of our greatest leaders. On June 24, 2004 Ronald Reagan passed away at the age of 93. There are many of us that because of our youth lack memories of his presidency, yet his legacy lives on our views and political persuasion.
Battles Are Won
In 2003 the war on terrorism achieved a major victory. Saddam Hussein was captured on a farm in al-Dawr, fifteen miles from his hometown of Tikrit. In a hole – go figure, and he seemed to be doing so well. Because they tend to see that sort of dictatorship as a bad thing - the United States and the United Kingdom have tried to assemble a government that will prevent it from happening again.
This past year the Iraqi Governing Council was dissolved and members were elected to fill an interim assembly to govern the country until the free elections could take place. This council formed an interim constitution that made the government republican, federal, democratic, and pluralist. The power would be shared between the federal government and regional governments. The official religion is Islam, but all are guaranteed the freedom of religious belief and practice. It also stated that all Iraqi’s are equal, regardless of sex, race, religion, or ethnic origin. The interim constitution also declared that the permanent constitution would guarantee that the Iraqi Armed Forces would never terrorize or oppress the people of Iraq. By December 31, 2005, the permanent constitutionally elected government will take over the government functions that are being performed by the interim assembly. Once this is completed, the Iraqi government will be firmly established and able to become a leading member of the international community.
Democracy in the middle east – definitely a highlight of 2004. Bet the history books will do a better job reporting the impact of this than the evening news did.
The Freedom To Vote
What review would be complete without mentioning the elections? It seemed the media, the entertainment industry, and – if you believe what those two groups would tell you – everyone else in the world wanted no more years of President George W. Bush. Too bad it's the American people that decide that one. How much space will the texts of history give this election? Was it ever really a contest? Perhaps it will illustrate that regardless of the money you pour into a campaign – democracy works.
The history books should spend some time on the first ever elections in Afghanistan. Another illustration of the difference between liberators and occupiers. There never was an imperialistic nation that taught democracy. It seems that Freedom is sorta catchy. Maybe it's just that all men were created that way.
What are we gonna do without good ole' Dan? I'm sure I speak for all of us when I say 'We'll miss him.' Or, maybe not. Anyway - how many people honestly believe this quote?
"I've always tried to be fair, even-handed, not an advocate for any group."
Sure, the saps who sit in front of their tube and nod their head at everything told them. But how many level-headed Americans believe that Dan Rather wasn't biased in his report?
Actually, who really thinks that any of the 'big 3' are as unbiased as they claim? It's sorta obvious that they all lean in a certain direction. But could it change? With Rather leaving will CBS pick up someone who can actually give out straight line facts? What about Brian Williams? The man is personally more left than his predecessor, but will Brian lean a specific way on air? Only time will tell.
Speaking of the changing of the anchormen, will history report that Brokaw retired but Rather resigned? Probably. Poor guy, he didn't go out with the bang he wanted.
Florida is popular – if you're a hurricane, or tropical storm. You can't ignore the natural disasters this year. Four storms hit Florida, and probably the greatest recorded natural disaster of modern time just happened. It's likely that will be the most remembered event of the past year. No matter what we do, there are things we can't control.
Now, does a world wide flood seem that far fetched anymore? As in the days of Noah.
A Year Of Trials
Martha Stewart was accused of insider-trading and later convicted on several other accounts including obstruction of justice and making false statements. Maybe the real reason that Martha was convicted is because someone higher up has a new homemaker in mind - Hillary!
Then there was Kobe Bryant whose accuser had second thoughts after it seemed they might have to take a closer look at her life. So Kobe’s accuser dropped all criminal charges against the basketball player in search of a civil case. In this case you'd have a hard time finding anyone who is innocent, period.
But there is hope for our legal system yet! Scott Peterson was suspected of killing his wife and unborn child. After a long trial, and lots of circumstantial evidence, Scott was convicted of both first and second degree murder. To top it all off, he was also given a death sentence – not like that means anything in California. Speaking of circumstantial evidence, Scott should have taken some lessons from OJ if he wanted to win the case. But they wouldn’t have worked because he has less money and because he isn’t a football star.
And last but not least - in terms of number of times in trouble with the law - is your favorite neighborhood babysitter – Michael Jackson. Evidently someone let their son go over to Jackson’s house to play with his kids and next thing you know, someone is filing charges. The jury is right now in the midst of deciding how to deal with the case. To that kid’s parents, why? Never mind.
The Red Sox
Yep, the Red Sox won the world series after 86 years of disappointments. They beat their arch-rivals, the Yankees - who have still won 24 more World Championships by the way - and then they absolutely destroyed what was arguably the best team in baseball this year, the St. Louis Cardinals.
They did it without Nomar Garciaparra, who seems to like teams with curses, and got help from the likes of David Ortiz, Bill Meuller, Kevin Millar, Jason Veritek - all of whom I'm sure do not take steroids - nobody in baseball would ever take steroids. But relax, we still have the Cubs, who have to be utterly embarrassed to realize that not only do they have an older curse, but it was started by a goat. Babe Ruth or a Goat? Yeah that's embarrassing.
That's why I like baseball - there is always something to look forward to for next year, but until then we'll have to follow something else.
Has hockey started?