Thursday, December 31, 2009

Decade in Review/ 2008

This is the sixth of a series of posts titled "Decade in Review". Each post will be dedicated to one year or at most two, so no one will get bored reading the entire long document! This is a review on 2008. Thanks for reading!!
- 2008 -
2008 was the year of the tornado. The first tornado outbreak of the year occurred on January 7th, spinning twisters recklessly across Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Illinois. A few were even reported as far north as Kenosha and Walworth counties in Wisconsin. That was the first, but definitely not the last major tornado outbreak across the nation’s midsection during the late winter months. By far, the most widespread outbreak of twisters for the entire decade occurred on the day of the “Super Tuesday” election primaries, February 5th, across mainly Arkansas, Missouri, and Tennessee, leaving 59 dead, 31 in Tennessee alone.

Locally in February, the Heyde Center for the Arts booked a well known and internationally touring folk group. Known for their close harmonies and light rhythms, The Wailin' Jennys was to date one of the best shows I have ever worked on at the Heyde Center! That is one of the best parts of working there, being able to meet many diverse people, and discovering that no matter how big a “star” they may be, they are all still normal people. With that said, I technically should have no problem meeting anyone!

On a sad note for 2008, my grandpa who had been ill for only about 8 months passed away on the 12th of April, 4 days after his 82nd birthday. Quoting Alan Jackson, “old ones died, new were born”! Only 5 days after Grandpa's funeral, my brother and his wife had a new baby! Little Samuel was much less premature than his twin brothers had been, and was allowed to go home with his parents after about a week.

A quick note from the middle of June, 2008, which I deem decade-worthy, would be the unprecedentedly heavy rains that fell across most of the upper Midwest, particularly across Iowa, southern Minnesota, and southern Wisconsin. We will all remember Cedar Rapids, Iowa which was severely inundated by the Iowa River. Also, in the town of Lake Delton, Wisconsin, a dike washed out, causing Lake Delton to go dry and collapsed several lake-front homes nearby.

I am telling you, 2008 was the year of the tornado!! On the 20th of July, I managed to catch sight of a funnel cloud developing over the neighbor's house!! I quickly grabbed a camera to document its development, and although it did not touch down, it was still an impressive sight to see!

Once again, the U.S. Navy Blue Angels came to town for an airshow at the Eau Claire Regional Airport. My sister and I attempted to attend the event, which was occurring on the 13th of September. Unfortunately, the organizers of the airshow failed to take into account the rainy nature of Septembers in Wisconsin! NO airplanes got off the ground on the 13th of September as the low clouds and persistent rain continued to soak the expectant crowds! It is apparently the only time the airshow has ever been canceled due to rain. Luckily for some, the show was also scheduled to run the following day, but as we were going out of town, I peddled off our tickets to a friend who was glad to get them!! That day's show turned out to the best attended airshow EVER at Eau Claire! Over 60,000 people turned out, prompting the organizers to schedule a return for the airshow in 2010.

Throughout the summer of 2008, the national economy was slowly faltering, although most people did not feel it. The housing bubble which had developed due to loose credit policies under President Clinton, had burst a year or two earlier, and it was only a matter of time before foreclosures became commonplace. On the 18th of September, 2008, things rapidly went from bad to worse as banks began to fail and panic set in. Unfortunately, the government decided the way to save the economy was to bail it out, and proceeded to do just that, hoping to reinstate public confidence in an already crumbled economy. Over the next 2 months however things gradually stabilized, and attentions turned ever increasingly to the historic presidential elections at hand.

Running for the highest office of the land, were two teams of people, either of which would make history if elected. The Republicans had put forth a moderate as their candidate, caving to extremely low public opinion of conservative President Bush. Republican nominee John McCain made history by nominating as his running mate a relatively unknown conservative female governor from the most backwoods state in the union, Alaska. Sarah Palin proved to be an extremely polarizing figure, which I believe is the main reason John picked her. Despite initial incredulity, disbelief, and anger on the part of the Republican base at McCain's pick, Sarah Palin soon began to draw her own following of supporters and helped boost McCain's slumping poll numbers.

On the Democratic side of the coin, a very heated contest had been shaping up in the primaries from coast to coast between the former first lady, Sen. Hillary Clinton, and the fresh-faced vitality of the eloquent first-term senator from Illinois, Barack Obama. Obama promised “hope” and “change”, but did not elaborate on exactly what this “change” might entail. The crowds didn't care, and many predicted he would be another John F. Kennedy. Hillary Clinton conceded the primary victory to Barack Obama without a fight at the national convention in Denver in late summer. Obama, sensing his inexperience might hurt him in the election, chose veteran senator Joe Biden as his running mate. This choice was widely praised by many.

Election Day, November 4th, 2008.

Americans were generally dissatisfied with the recent conduct of the previous administration under President Bush. Bush had been making various hard-headedly dumb decisions over the past couple of years, and voters were looking for a change. Despite warnings about what Mr. Obama's “change” might entail, and facing overwhelming voter backlash against the unpopular Bush administration, the Republicans heavily lost the elections as predicted, in local, state, and national levels, and Senator Barack Obama made history as the first black president of the United States of America. I think Abraham Lincoln would have been proud, unless he would have known what sort of leader Mr. Obama would be. Nevertheless, the Democratic party had come to power, and Americans sat back and waited to see if they would keep their many promises.

"The sun sets on the United States of America"

Sunset, November 4th, 2008.

One last item of note for 2008, on November 5th, 2008, I joined the social networking site Facebook! At last, I could connect with friends faster than by standard email!

Stay tuned for the final post of the decade, 2009 on New Year's Day.

><<<>>>((<To Be Continued>))<<<>>><

No comments: