With the new year (2010) approaching, I am thinking of how this decade started with a lot of hype and lies promoted by the media and self-interested groups who were scaremongering for profit...specifically, about the Y2K bug that was supposed to wipe put humanity etc etc.
I remember I used to work of a certain cable news organization in 1999-2000. We were all told that we had to be in our offices on New Year's Eve 1999/2000 because of all the stories that had been published for a while then, about the Y2k bug. Planes were expected to fall out of the sky, nuclear missiles were expected to launch themselves, reactors were expected to blow up, cats and dogs living together...
At precisely 12:01 on Jan 1 2000, nothing happened. Nada. Zilch. Not a hairclip went missing because of the Y2K bug. All the pundits, all the talking heads, all the experts, all the editorials and articles...all of them were shown plain wrong. Lawyers had prepared class action lawsuits ready to be filed, governments had prepared emergency plans, companies had backed up their data, etc....all for nothing.
It was all hype.
Then came the war on Iraq and all the hype and bullshit about WMDs that went with that. More of the same.
Democracy was proven to be a sham. It was proven that people could be led around and brainwashed so easily. Every single check and balance in the American constitutional system was shown to be a fraud too. We went to war without the least knowledge of why we're going to war. THere were no WMDs in Iraq. We knew it. Congress failed to act as a check on the executive (in fact, it was an enabler.) Our media failed to expose the executive's lies (and they were enablers too.) The so-called "Watchdog of Demcoracy" was not just asleep but a participant in selling the big lie. And so 8 years later, no one can state with certainty why US troops are still in Iraq, or why they went there in the first place (because WMDs was certainly not the reason.)
The election system fell down too -- hanging chads, anyone?
And then Capitalism fell down. You want practical proof? GO to http://maps.google.com , click on "Show search options" and then select "real estate" from the menu.
Select any neighborhood in a largish-city on the map -- like Santa Clara, California-- and click on "for sale" on the left margin.
See those dots? THose are houses for sale.
Now, click the "foreclosure" option too.
See those dots? That's how many houses are in foreclosure. Compare to regular sales.
And remember that we just spent trillions bailing out our largest corporations, thanks to the Chinese.
And that mass surveillance, torture, indefinite detention, and the use of secret evidence against detainees is now legal in the US of A -things that 20 years ago would have been unimaginable. Here, now, happening. US moral credibility now shot totally to shit.
That's the great Zeroes decade. When the last nail was driven into the coffin of American exceptionalism. We're stuck in an endless, pointless war far away, and bridges are falling down from lack of maintenance at home, while our public drinking water literally causes skin burns due to pollution put there by corporate greed, while the average CEO earns more in a day than the average worker earns per year.
This is probably what Rome felt like in the end.