Monday, January 2, 2012 / by Nathan Clark
There have been so many things that will make 2011 memorable big things, like the deaths of Osama bin Laden and Steve Jobs, and seemingly small things, like the debt-ceiling mess, that were more significant than we might have thought at the time.
But I think this will go down in memories as, well, one strange year.
The nation was gripped by the trial of a young woman many people thought killed her own child, and she went unconvicted. We had a presidential candidate with a tax plan based on the number 9, and whose accusers of sexual impropriety numbered at least five, leading to him abandoning the race.
The year 2011 is the one we will remember as the first time we started hearing about the 1%. Mostly, we have the Occupy Wall Street movement to thank for that, and though there is no clear goal the OWS people are trying to achieve other than gripe about rich people well remember that somehow the occupy motive spread, to logical destinations such as Washington D.C. and head-scratchers, like Oakland, Calif.
It will be the year we remember as one when whole countries (Greece) and continents (Europe) looked as if they might go belly-up. Stock markets jerked us up and down all year as the world watched governments try to deal with debts and deficits, the Dow Jones Index alone moving along a 20-percent range of highs and lows.
It was a year marked by civil war in the Middle East, with Syria, Egypt and Liby experiencing major unrest, regimes falling and dictators dying. It was the year of Japans earthquake and tsunami. Closer to home and emotionally painful were the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the almost-unbelievable Jerry Sandusk-Penn State scandal.
We had the final space shuttle landing, an Amish beard-cutting spree, a U.S. credit downgrade and a phone-hacking debacle at News Corp. Gas and food prices soared, hitting American famililies right in the checkbook, as IPOs made billionaires out of internet geeks.
It was a year when Kim Kardashians scam marriage and a Royal wedding made headlines for weeks, and Netflix announces a pricing change that outraged people. Meanwhile, a straight-faced U.S. congress passed a version of budget bill that labels pizza a vegetable in childrens school lunches, and no one seems to care that its a blatant insult to our common sense.
Its been a topsy-turvy year indeed.
And we survived it.
Things appeared bleak at times. Financial markets and inflation scared us. Natural disasters and the idea of radical government shifts in faraway parts of the world made us wonder in awe. Stories of violence and corruption are what made it onto our plates as part of our every day digestion of news.
But you’re still here. I’m still here. We have made it through the topsy-turvy in one piece. Hopefully, you have your health, your family and your friends. Those are the things that are important – more so than the money, politics, scandals and gossip that get too much of our attention too much of the time.
If there’s a lesson to take from 2011, it’s that when all the topsy-turvy and distractions are over and we finally raise our heads, the things that are most important are largely unchanged. The noise around us shouldn’t change who we are, and it certainly can’t change those things and those people important to us. That’s what survives, no matter how up-and-down or round-and-round the year has been.
Now let’s welcome 2012, and let’s remember, as we make our way through it, that after 2011, we will survive any amount of topsy turvy it throws at us!