"There are reasons to be optimistic in ’07

If there were ever a year that I was ready to pistol-whip, kick in the groin and throw off my patio into the polluted lake outside my apartment complex, 2006 would be it.

With a few key exceptions, this year has sucked in just about every way that a year can suck. Financial problems? Check. Stress levels off the chart? Check. Medical woes? Yep. Too many assholes infiltrating my airspace? That, too.

So, although it’s tempting to say that 2007 will be a better year than ’06 simply because it can’t get much worse, I’m optimistic about the new year because there are many reasons to be cheerful about it.

Each day brings us closer to the Bush presidency being over, which is a major blessing. There will, for the first time, be some degree of congressional oversight on this runaway administration, which is also a good thing.

But on a deeper, more metaphysical level, 2007 will be a better year than 2006 because we are, all of us, due for a good year after so many shitty ones in a row. Now that the obscene spectacle of Christmas is over for another year, and the hedonistic ritual that is New Year’s Eve is here, it’s time to reassess our priorities and put in place plans to make sure this year will be happier than the ones that came before it.

Sure, there are plenty of obstacles in our path. There’s the upcoming economic depression, a possible reinstatement of the draft, two more years of Bush and an inevitable asteroid collision to worry about.

There’s always the chance that the aliens who’ve been abducting me for many years will make themselves known to the rest of the world, which is somewhat distressing. Just be nice to them and don’t resist their probes and you’ll be fine. You may learn to enjoy them.

But it seems to me that there is a real opportunity for realigning our broken country into a more perfect union. Everyone in the nation is now as pissed off about Bush as I have been since he stole the 2000 election. Our country is divided on many things, but 70 percent of us now agree that we’ve got a moron in the White House.

Maybe the public pressure of being so bitterly hated will move the president in a more moderate direction, if for no other reason than he’ll have to live in the screwed-up country he created when he leaves office.

And, beyond politics, there seems to be a shift in the way that people perceive society and their apparent powerlessness to do anything about it. Just think of how much has changed in the last 15 years.

In 1992, people were force-fed news by the three major broadcast networks. There was no Internet from which to get unbiased information. There was no real way to express yourself on a global scale unless you had millions of dollars.

Now anybody with a cheap computer and a phone line can say whatever they want to say for the entire world to read. The major networks are relics of a bygone era, as ancient and quaint as Leave It To Beaver. People have an infinite number of sources for news and entertainment.

You don’t even have to have a television. You can watch YouTube clips and get all the entertainment you need. Radio stations and daily newspapers are obsolete. Pretty soon, the daily papers will only be sold in nursing homes and antique shops. Nobody needs to read bland McNews in the daily paper anymore.

Beyond all of that, people are just more intelligent than they were in 1992. People are more savvy about the ways big business tries to manipulate them. Anyone who shops at Wal-Mart knows just what kind of business it is. There’s no illusion anymore about the corporate world just wanting the best for all of us.

Years of consolidation, the exodus of good jobs as a result of so-called “fair trade” agreements like NAFTA and scandal after scandal have established the fact, beyond any doubt, that all big business cares about is getting bigger. And people now know that they have to beat the system in any way they can if they want to prosper.

If that means starting your own business to fill in the gaps left by the mega-corporations, then do it. If it means struggling within the belly of the beast to make a living, so be it. Just don’t expect politicians or the business world to willingly do anything to help you. They won’t. They’ll just feed at their own troughs until they drop dead from cardiac failure.

Maybe this has always been true, but the fact that everyone realizes these facts is a liberating thing. By so totally destroying all bonds of public trust, this president and his big-business friends have done us all a favor.

Outside of your closest friends and your family, the world is indeed out to get you. You no longer run the risk of being called paranoid. You just have to fight for every little scrap of prosperity and happiness.

And so, to that end, from my family to yours, best wishes for a wonderful, healthy and prosperous new year. Just hold on. Things are going to get better.