As I write this, we seem to be heading towards the middle of January 2007. However, since this year is still extremely very
much up in the air (pardon the cliche), it seemed appropriate to take a look back at 2006. Not just because we needed to
update the website or because everyone else seems to do this at the end of the year, but just because....
The most important thing that went down was the election. Yes, somehow against all odds and with a platform Jon Stewart
of the Daily Show described as "slowly creeping out of the room while your brother gets screamed at for burning down
the garage," the Democrats managed to win both houses of Congress and are beginning their mid term reign as I type this.
Fostered largely due to Dubya's insistence on continuing an unpopular war and the administration's perceived indifference
in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the GOP's arrogance appeared to wear thin on a population whose struggling is something
the powers that be seemed to be oblivious to. Meanwhile, Congress finds itself in an uphill battle as President Bush wants
to have a troop surge in Iraq in defiance of what the majority of the country seems to want. What will happen this year in
regards to the war is anyone's guess (hint: when Henry Kissinger goes on record saying the war is unwinnable, that might be
a sign), but I have a strange feeling that Bush will continue to do whatever he wants vis-à-vis signing statements and the
As for the Republicans, they appeared to be shocked at first. They spent an incredible amount of money on negative campaign
ads and had talk radio and Fox News spreading their view on the issues; and they still lost. However, they appear to have
lost little of their animosity; quickly reacting when finding out they were going to be treated the way the Democrats often
were for the last six years by crying about bipartisanship and how unfair they're being treated (Bush even basically said
the Democrats would head towards a stalemate if they chose such a path). While one thought losing the election would give
the GOP a little perspective, it sadly appears too many of them want to blame the messenger (hence the “liberal
media; remaining a whipping boy) rather than evaluate where going too far may have alienated a lot of voters. As I mentioned
last paragraph, it's up in the air right now but I feel it's going to be a strange next two years.
On other fronts, several states proposed laws with the basic intent of outlawing a woman's right to an abortion, with
the most restrictive one being in South Dakota. They failed to get voted into law in South Dakota, Oregon, and California.
The struggle isn't over on this front, but a decisive blow has been cast. However, it must be pointed out that other states
are still trying to get these laws passed making this still a hot button issue that should really be an individual personal
decision, not one involving the state or the church. This has been a battlefield for over three decades and continues to
On a cultural front, this is where it gets really interesting. The two interconnect at two scandals that made the news
just before the election went down. Yes, it’s Foleygate and Ted Haggard providing us with belly laughs. The former
enraged people due to the possibility that a Republican controlled Congress (you know, the folks who rambled on about "Family
values" since the late 80s) knew about Foley's interaction with pages and covered it up. Foley being in charge of a
committee regarding child predators only makes this the kind of warped humor that even Monty Python couldn't dream up. As
for Haggard, whenever someone known for preaching about moral righteousness and standing against "the gay agenda"(whatever
the hell that is) is exposed by the male prostitute he may have visited and gotten meth from, that's American humor. Feel
sorry for his kids but this ain't a mom and pop operation (Haggard was one of the biggest evangelicals in the country and
had access to the conservative power structure). The tragedy is, according to the Denver Post, he had been struggling with
this all his adult life; maybe he wouldn't have had to struggle with it if he wasn't brainwashed to hate himself for who he
is. I'd almost be sad if Haggard wasn't so arrogant (his cameo in the movie Jesus Camp being a major case in point). While
the amendments against gay marriage passed (wrongly in my opinion) in almost all the states they were proposed in (Arizona,
surprisingly, rejected it), the scandals definitely raised some questions about possible skeletons in the conservatives';
closets (no pun intended).
The most surprising cultural moment is also possibly one of the funniest. In late April of last year, Stephen Colbert
appeared at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Most people expected the usual light joking and trying not to shock.
Colbert stayed in character and basically mocked Dubya almost to his face via satire. It can be argued he meant to make people
laugh, and the roast is a comedy tradition. However, Colbert's target proved to have no sense of humor, and Colbert ended
up making the statement most of us wanted to make towards the war criminal we call our President. Clips of this event are
floating online if you know where to look. If you haven't seen this, do so. It has to be seen to be fully appreciated.
While the mainstream media continued to push their pablum down our throats, the country seems to live in shellshock.
The things mentioned above are just a brief example of what went down (and will probably be updated), but a glimpse of where
we're at now. What happens in the next year is anyone's guess. I just hope it gets better. We could use some change about