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In 2005, Big Media and Public Began to Wake Up

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At midnight on Jan. 1, 2005, I felt the thrill of time's passage as I joined others in that traditional
heartfelt yawp, "Happy New Year!"

An ugly year was finally over. That realization struck with genuine euphoria, for 2004 had been
unbelievably dishonest, catastrophic, and, it seemed, unending.

Two catastrophes""one contrived by people, one by nature--pummeled like-minded friends and
relations at year's end with the force of body blows

An executive I know in Detroit's automotive industry summed up the first one, when he said, "I
can't believe we re-elected the village idiot president." OK, that's harsh, but maybe not harsh
enough. After all, it ignores the cruelty, dishonesty and secretive nature many detect in our
president. Still, it'll do in a rush.

Videos showing towering walls of water summed up the second catastrophe""the tsunami that
struck much of coastal Asia the day after Christmas last year.

As I say, those disasters arrived with the force of body blows""laying waste to consolation
offered in Christmas cards--notions of peace and good will on Earth. So, good riddance to
2004""I felt the sentiment strongly in the first hours of 2005. It was something to celebrate. By
then, most anything would've done.

Of course, that was before Katrina waltzed on-stage and swallowed New Orleans. Before
earthquakes, drought, brushfires and other natural disasters marred 2005. Before torture, deceit,
use of illegal weapons and other corrupt activities made headlines.

Still, such headlines provided THE silver lining for 2005. The national media finally showed
signs of stirring. The country was getting smarter. There was hope again. The president's
approval ratings plummeted. Scandals broke out all over""unsavory, yet healthy signs. Suddenly
the Bush agenda was in trouble. That's why I won't be so euphoric to see this year pass on come
New Year's Eve.

After all, 2005 will be remembered as the year Bush lost his bid to "reform" social security in the
way he'd planned, by privatizing and shrinking the program.

It's the year he officially gave up on building a new generation of nuclear "bunker busting"
weapons (though who knows what might be happening behind the scenes).

It was the year critics managed to derail one Supreme Court nomination and stall another.

The year the Downing Memos became well known enough to make more people than ever
question Bush's official reasons for invading Iraq.

It was the year the Valerie Plame affair finally broke out into open scandal and Vice-president

Dick Cheney's top aide, I "Scooter" Libby, was indicted.

The year the Senate moved to ban torture and bring us back into compliance with the Geneva

The year the press bothered to report what many had suspected""that the government was
illegally wiretapping hundreds or thousands of U.S. citizens.

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Don Williams is a prize-winning columnist, short story writer, freelancer, and the founding editor and publisher of New Millennium Writings, an annual anthology of literary stories, essays and poems. His awards include a National Endowment for the (more...)
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