It's my genuine belief that, when the ball in Times Square dropped and displayed the year "2000" nine years ago, something must have occurred to transform our nation and the world into a permanent version of "Alice in Wonderland."
Early in the decade, America sustained an unimaginably devastating attack on our soil, and yet the media refuse to do more than mention in seeming embarrassment that Islamic terrorists were responsible — and are probably trying to it again.
We quickly came to recognize that the hiding place for those who want to kill us was Afghanistan. So we went there in force and cleaned it up a bit. Later, we let it simmer. Now we have a president who once declared this the necessary war, and yet who now isn't sure he wants to send the additional troops there to try to keep this breeding ground of evil from becoming a permanent base for future attacks on America.
Fiscally, we have seen a Republican administration and Congress, and now an all-Democratic government, go to town spending money with reckless abandon and printing money like rolls of toilet paper to keep up with our unbridled expenditures.
Now I see schoolchildren in a public school somewhere chanting and singing a song praising our president with lyrics that steal lines from the old religious song "Yes, Jesus Loves Me." Just a few decades ago, such antics would have been reserved for Chairman Mao in China.
What is the world coming to?
Not in a million years did I ever believe that, in one year alone, there would be an attempt to create what basically would be a backdoor national healthcare system, an effort to tax companies for "energy emissions" and the creation of so many new positions in the White House as to force any remake of the television series "West Wing" to have a cast of at least a thousand.
Our race relations are not any better, but not because there are giant crowds of racists everywhere. Instead, it seems that every time anyone has any criticism of our president, who happens to be black and who happened to get elected because of a large number of white votes, that person is labeled a racist.
For eight painful years, I had to watch George W. Bush serve as president. He was a really nice man with a permanent goofy look on his face and a real talent for fumbling his words in public. All the while his brother Jeb, who is as sharp as edged flint, played a distant second fiddle as governor of Florida. It made no sense.
But then nothing has in this crazy decade.
And it just gets crazier. Who would have ever guessed that America would strand our allies in Eastern Europe by dropping the missile defense program? Or that the leader of our government would have the power basically to fire the president of General Motors? None of this could have seemed imaginable just a decade ago.
But now I've seen it all. Yes, I have endured the viewing — along with certain family members — of such TV rubbish as "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," which features a collection of halfway well-dressed roller-derby types. I've also seen that show's cousin, set in my hometown, "The Real Housewives of Atlanta." Its characters put the "low" back in "low class."
But Tom DeLay beats them all. The former "Hammer" of the U.S. House of Representatives is dancing his way across the TV screen. Surely this is one of those signs that the end is near.
If you feel anything like I do, then you feel like you've had nearly nine years of the flu. Awakening from one fever-induced nightmare — the 2000 election recount — to another and another. And all the while scared to death that some momentary boom in the economy will turn into another downturn that assures you will be working until you are 90. Except that if you're 90 right now, all you can do is join the unemployment line.
Occasionally, I have to step back, chuckle and take note of just how wild the 2000s have been. And now we have an alarmist group that believes the world will come to an end in 2012.
Well, I have news for them: You will know it by a sign. Bill Clinton will be in the center spot on "Hollywood Squares."
Matt Towery is author of the new book, "Paranoid Nation: The Real Story of the 2009 Fight for the Presidency." He heads the polling and political information firm InsiderAdvantage.
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