The historian Doris Kearns Goodwin wrote a book a few years back entitled Wait Till Next Year. In it, she chronicled her childhood in Brooklyn in the 1940s and 1950s and, in particular, her love of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The rallying cry for fans of "dem bums" (as the Dodgers were lovingly known) was always "wait till next year," as each season seemed to end with the Dodgers achingly close to winning it all but never quite getting there.
I think it's fair to say that all of America is ready for 2008 to move into the rearview mirror. We're "waiting till next year" with the hope that our economic doldrums and the lingering effects of the failed domestic and foreign policies of "dem bums" in the current administration will soon be history.
A year ago, we were in the midst of the two campaigns for major-party nominations for president. Hillary Clinton looked like a lock to be the Democratic standard-bearer. A month later, Barack Obama had blitzed by Hillary, winning primary after primary and setting himself up with a lead that held through the bitterly fought final contests.
The point being, I suppose, that change happens and often happens fast. In 2008, Mayor Herenton resigned, then didn't. The Memphis Tigers had the national championship locked up with a couple minutes to play, but the "National Champions" banner is hanging in Lawrence, Kansas. A year ago, the economy, according to President Bush, was "fundamentally sound." Today, we're throwing billions of dollars at what turned out to be fundamentally unsound companies, hoping some of it will trickle down and keep the rest of us from the soup lines. Who could have predicted? Apparently, nobody in this administration, even those whose job it is to do just that.
So, who knows what 2009 will bring? Change is a given, of course, and I can't help but think the change embodied in the inauguration of a new president will have at least some palliative effect. Fresh horses and fresh thinking certainly can't hurt at this point.
The Flyer staff takes a week off between Christmas and New Year's Day. In the interim, our Annual Manual hits the street on January 1st. We'll be back, refreshed and ready for action in two weeks. Please join us. It should be an interesting year. Meanwhile, happy holidays, merry Christmas, or however you roll.