Glad to see 2009 go

Editorial December 30-09

The year 2009 will be remembered for a number of significant ups and downs making it unique among recent years.

Actually, the inauguration of Barack Obama as the first Black president of the United States makes 2009 unique among all the previous years of that country’s history.

We watched him run and win in 2008 – from wondering if he really knew what he was doing when  he declared his intention to run, to his early win in Iowa and the sense of the possible that it engendered, to the ups and downs of the campaign and to the final victory.

Nothing, however, will ever surpass the sense of awe, satisfaction, unbridled joy and just plain pride in seeing him and his wife stand before the hundreds of thousands of excited supporters who converged on Washington – joined by millions around the world – to see history unfold in January.

That was a major up. A few months later, however, we were to hear the news of the death of the King of Pop, Michael Jackson. That was a major down.

Most of us of a certain age have watched Michael grow up, from the time when, as a small child, he sang with his brothers as the Jackson Five. Many of us actually grew up with him. We watched him become a major star in his own right all through the Thriller years to his fall from grace – the accusations, the trials, the many physical changes, the sadness that accompanied his later years.

Along the way, he lost the support of many of us. We turned away because we couldn’t bear to watch. Then he died. And we came back.

Michael is probably loved and respected now more than he ever was for his amazing talent and understood more than he ever has been for his strange and unorthodox life.

There were other events involving celebrities which made major headlines maybe as much for who they are as for what they did.

Serena Williams made major headlines when she allegedly threatened to do serious damage to a line judge who made a questionable foot fault call on her at a crucial time when she was obviously on her way to losing a match. Not a good call. And very bad timing.

After months of trying to come up with an appropriate penalty for Serena, the officials decided on a fine and probation. Obviously, they realized that the sport of tennis needed Serena more than Serena needed the sport of tennis.

Maybe both she and her sister, Venus, another tennis star in her own right, should give the game a time out just as Tiger Woods says he will do.

Speaking of Tiger, we still can’t understand why everyone is so up in this man’s business. The only person with whom he should have a problem is his wife – and his kids. No one else.

But so many people seem to want to see him suffer for his perceived sins. Is it only his infidelity that’s causing this reaction?

All Tiger owes us – and that itself is debatable – is a good golf game when he plays. Actually, even that he owes more to himself than to his fans.

And those who feel sorry for his wife, the former nanny will receive more money than she could have ever dreamed of. She will be better off than all of us.

Of course, the most important story of the year has to be the economic meltdown because that affected just about everyone of us in one way or another.

Whoever would have imagined that the Big Three auto makers – General Motors, Ford and Chrysler – would find themselves on the brink of bankruptcy? (Unless that was a ruse to smack down the unions.)

Obama’s role in helping to guide the U.S. through the meltdown was news in itself. Although he has been criticized by many on the right for not doing enough, could anyone imagine what might have been had John McCain and his ditzy vice-presidential choice, Sarah Palin, won the election? Or even Hilary Clinton?

To give credit where it is due, our government’s handling of our economy saw us come through the downturn with the least damage of all the major countries and we look to 2010 with confidence for continued economic growth.

All in all, we are just glad to see the end of this year. Aren’t you?

Take care and all the best for 2010. God Bless.



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