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Go away, 2004
An editorial / By Jay Ambrose
Scripps Howard News Service


December 27, 2004

Get thee behind us, 2004. It was hardly the worst of years, but it was a year of economic readjustment, of hellish war in Iraq and of a presidential contest that seemed as if it would never end. Time passes slowly when you are in pain, and the political pain was considerable because of the anger on both sides and a division between Americans that seemed to grow wider daily.

Measured by historic terms or in comparison with most of its industrial-state competitors, the American economy is doing extremely well, but dramatic changes are taking place as the economy grows ever more global, more interdependent with the economies of other lands - and thus you get anxiety over an issue such as outsourcing.

It is not a matter worthy of worry, but the extent of it is new and jangles the nerves. Much else that is somewhat new in the economy does as well, and there therefore continues to be a need for new understandings. Much must also be done differently for the United States to remain competitive and prosperous, but the good news is that our economic system is as adaptable as any.

So much has gone so badly in Iraq that it is easy to suppose the war a terrible mistake, but the moment's horrors are no necessary prognostication of the future. It remains a good possibility that an election in Iraq in January will produce a democratizing momentum that will break the backs of the insurgents, carry the land gradually into a decent, reasonably prosperous future and serve the U.S. goal of further undermining the terrorist threat to our own land.

The past campaign season will not be recalled with nostalgia. Paranoia was loose among us, along with either hatred or something so close as to require microscopic inspection to tell the difference. The Election Day conclusion of the campaigns did not also end the ugliness, the conspiracy theories or the exaggerations, though there has been some surcease of the worst of it, some cooling of passion, providing a chance, perhaps, for the forces of reason to regroup.

By the grace of calendar calculations, 2004 is going, going - will pretty soon be gone - and there is reason for hope that much of the worst of it will not be replicated in 2005.


Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service,


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