POWERS: 2010 shapes up to be a year for the ages

Curtis Powers

Wow. 2010 is shaping up to be a historic year. I’m not sure I can remember a year in my life that witnessed so much upheaval around the world, and we’re not even halfway through it yet.

Now granted, I was born in 1986 and don’t remember the fall of the Berlin Wall or its aftermath. Well, except I do remember seeing tanks rolling through Moscow the day before my father was offered a position to move our family there.

I will admit, I’m not sure 2010 has produced any generation-defining moments, moments that cause you to remember where you were when you heard the news like 9/11 in 2001, JFK’s assassination in 1963, etc.

However, there have been many events that really stand out, such as the following:

-Earthquakes in Haiti — magnitude 7.0 causing the deaths of over 200,000 people and displacing roughly 1.3 million, according to official estimates — and Chile — magnitude 8.8, one of the largest earthquakes ever.

-Passage of the Health Care Reform Bill, which is the widest-sweeping piece of legislation since Medicare was passed in 1965.

-Greece’s financial crisis threatens the stability of the European Union.

-Volcanic ash shut down airports across Europe.

-President Lech Kaczynski and many other leaders in the Polish government died in a plane crash.

-A BP oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, and is on its way to surpassing the Exxon Valdez as the worst oil spill in history.

-Arizona passed a controversial immigration bill to deal with growing illegal immigrant problem.

That list doesn’t even include the sex scandal in the Catholic Church involving the Pope, the assassination in Dubai, elections in Iraq or the riots in Kyrgyzstan.

So 2010 is off to a wild start. Sometimes, it makes me feel as if the apocalypse is approaching. The earth will just blow up or implode and humanity as we know it will end. I don’t really believe that will happen, but it’d probably make for a pretty cool sci-fi flick.

The question is: What’s going to happen next? More natural disasters? Will the federal government ever show some fiscal restraint before the national debt destroys the country? Will BP go bankrupt from the oil spill cleanup? Will gas prices hit $5 per gallon? Will Iowa State win the Big 12 North this year before it no longer exists?

It’s hard to say. The Earth is pretty unpredictable and people are too. So it’s difficult to foresee what will happen in the next few months.

However, big businesses seem to have been screwing up a lot lately  — see: BP along with the other two companies involved in the oil spill and Goldman Sachs isn’t looking too good either. Therefore it’s probably safe to say another one will screw up again soon.

The same goes for the government — see: Greece, Thailand, Kyrgyzstan, Arizona and our own federal government, and the list goes on. So it’s probably safe to assume some governmental entity will blow it soon too. Overall, it’s probably a pretty even race between the government and big business to see who messes up first.

Often times, I am a part of conversations talking about “change” and “progress.” And the more I look around, the more I agree with the old proverb, “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

So while we do live in interesting times, remember to take things with a grain of salt. Gain some perspective and realize the world is probably not coming to an end. It also is not on its way to a Utopian paradise.