2005: waking up…

Posted on Friday 30 December 2005

coffee_cup.gifI think 2005 started with something of a news bubble blanking out a lot of what was fomenting in the minds of a lot of us. There had been a number of forrays into a serious look at how our government had behaved [like the O’niell and Clarke books] but they faded quickly. Most of us vaguely knew about the C.I.A. Leak investigation, but not much about the details. Much of the discussion I recall with friends was about "where is the Press?" Stories would come up, maybe play through an iteration or two in the New York Times or the Washington Post, then fade into nowhere – rarely even making the Atlanta papers. When the Downing Street Memos were leaked, they were so undercovered that the Atlanta Journal Constitution published a rebuttal to the sea of letters they received asking "where is this story!" – documenting the paltry few times it had made our paper.  If anything, the Talking Point counters got more coverage than the stories they countered.

The blogs were beginning to flower at that point. Some had been around for a long time, but from my perspective, it was Arianna’s  Huffington Post that started in May that really brought them into the mainstream as an alternative to our sterilized newspapers. The columnists and independents seemed to take to them too, so the quality of the writing was terrific. In early July, the firecrackers started popping. There was the Cooper/Miller off-to-jail episode, the revelations about Libby’s and Rove’s involvement in the leak; there was our love affair with Patrick Fitzgerald; and finally some papable confirmation that BushINC had been as loose with the rules as we thought he’d been. Bush’s pitiful showing with Cindy Sheehan, Harriet Miers, and Hurricane Katrina added to the noise.

By the time Fitzgerald indicted Scooter Libby in late October, it was a different climate. We’d learned about the sheenanigans in the New York Times [and most of us were way over Judith Miller]. We’d soon learn that icon Bob Woodruff had feet of clay too. By the time Viveca Novak [Novak2] came along, one was beginning to wonder if there were any reasonable people left in Washington. And then a couple of Democrats burst out of the closet – Harry Reid and John Murtha particularly. The recent N.S.A. revelations of eavesdropping on the U.N. Security Council members and private American citizens were almost too much [Scandal Fatigue Syndrome]. The background story was, of course, in Iraq where the voters seem to be saying something our heroic liberator Administration doesn’t want to hear, "Yankee, Go Home!"

I was living in Europe during a lot of the Watergate Era, so I don’t know if things changed so quickly back then. Not that our political situation is really that great right now, but considering where we were just 6 months ago, we’re on the move. When I say "we" here, I don’t necessarily mean Democrats or Liberals. I think I mean Americans. It’s like the whole country has been asleep since September 11th, 2001, and we’ve finally begun to wake up.  I don’t know how historians come to name periods of history, but I’d like to propose that the first part of this millenium could be called, "The Big Sleep." I just hope that the "Awakening" continues…

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