The Aughts

This decade is coming to a close in less than 30 days. For most of us, it’s been the most interesting decade of our lives. The world has changed more in the last 10 years than it did in the previous 20. At least I think so.

Then again, I have very few memories from 1980 to 1985 anyway. Still, this decade has been full of monumental moments that have shaped the world we live in today.

So I thought I’d come up with a list of things that I think will define this decade, as in the things you aughtta remember. Most of it’s obvious but I’m curious to see what your thoughts were concerning these incidents.

6. June 25, 2009. Some people don’t see this as an important day. But to me, it’s the day that we began to realize just how many people still appreciated and loved Michael Jackson here in the United States. The world stopped for many people that day (and the Internet almost did, too). It may seem like a stretch, but I think it’s a day the world will long remember and one that will define this decade.

5. Nov. 4, 2008. It became cliche to say “never in my lifetime” within a matter of minutes after 7 p.m. on this day. But it was so true. Very few people in the world believed they’d see a black man win the Presidency of the United States. And I never thought I’d see so many black people around this nation filled with so much pure joy (The joy black people felt when OJ was acquitted wasn’t pure. Everyone knew he was guilty then).

4. 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami. We tend to measure catastrophes in numbers and this is one of the worst in the history of human civilization. But I can’t even begin to comprehend what 200,000-plus people dying because of one disaster looks like because we were so far displaced from it.

3. Katrina. Seeing America look third world in any sense is just strange. Seeing so much of it made so destitute makes no sense. More than anything during the Dubya Administration, this is the one thing I will take with me: How it fumbled so many lives that could have been spared and how slow they were to react and aid those in need.

2. Sept. 11, 2001. None of us had seen anything like that day on American soil and prayerfully, we never will again. Watching those buildings fall is maybe the worst memory I have of this decade, simply because we watch the loss of so much life live. I’m still a little weirded out every time I watch an old film set in New York that uses the WTC as b-roll.

1. The 2000 Presidential Election. Can you imagine how much different the world might be right now had Dubya not “won” Florida? I doubt Barack Obama would be president. Saddam Hussein would probably still be alive. The American economy may not have tanked the way it did. Who knows? One thing’s certain, though: America would be even greener than it is right now.

What are your thoughts? What would you add to the list?


16 responses to “The Aughts

  1. These are definitely oughta dates…

    Two other dates for me that stick out are likely only important because they affected my professional life and the rest of the business world.

    On 12/2/2001 Enron filed for bankruptcy. This set off a domino effect of companies being exposed for cooking their books and caused new regulations such as the Sarbanes-Oxley Act.

    During the month of 9/2008 we got a hard lesson on the true behind the scenes shenanigans of capitalism. Our nation’s financial structure almost came crashing ALL THE WAY down with some of the biggest players in the game filing for bankruptcy or getting hostily taken over. The word ‘security’ needs to likely be changed as it definitely is not related to something that is freely traded in the exchanges…

    • Good list Damon, and good additions by jlbd above.

      I’d also put 6/25/09 on this list, but for a totally opposite reason. That day will serve as the biggest example of our society’s out-of-control celebrity-obsession, which (hopefully) has come close to reaching its peak. I know he’s an icon for many, many people and that there isn’t another human today that would create such a fervor in his/her death…but the whole thing was disturbing and completely over the top to me.

      I’d put #2 at #1, without question, personally. That event is still driving so much of our country’s agenda, over eight years later.

      • @kyle:

        I didn’t really number the list by value. I just did it in reverse order of when the event actually happened.

        • Duh..I should have realized that!

          • lol… I did it because I think it’s weird to realize just how much of an effect that last thing had on so much of what happened this decade… and how different it would be.

            I think they’d be hard to rank, though. Choosing between that Tsunami and 9/11 would be quite difficult… just because of the relevance.

  2. 02/03/2003 & 03/20/2003

    02/03/2003 was the day that Colin Powell went before the UN and made the case that Iraq was a danger to the rest of the world. It was also the day that Colin Powell lost credibility in a lot of people’s eyes.

    03/20/2003 was the day that the U.S. actually invaded Iraq. It’s not the first war that the U.S. started, but usually, the U.S. is alot more careful in contriving wars to make it look like the U.S. is the good guy, instead of a pre-emptive strike. It also meant that the U.S. took it’s eye off the ball in Afghanistan, thereby ensuring the war that other countries, and the public supported got shorted.

  3. Excellent list, Damon.

    I think you’re absolutely right about MJ. We’ll be telling our kids where we were when we heard he died. I don’t know what it was like when Elvis died, but I’m sure it was similar (the irony: I just finished reading MJ’s autobiography and he references the constant comparisons to Elvis — in 1988, he didn’t think he would end up like Elvis…)

    I called my mom after candidate Obama became President-elect Obama and said “congratulations on being alive when we elected our first black president.” I remember talking to my BFF about how odd it was to be saying “I never thought I’d see a black President” at 21 (at the time) but it was so true.

    I will always remember when Katrina hit. It’s been the only time I saw (well heard, we were on the phone) cry. He didn’t try to hide it and that was the moment I understood exactly what I was seeing on TV.

    I have a pretty good memory when it comes to events/happenings, often down to specific dialogue — but I very vividly remember 9/11/2001. Where I was when the planes hit, how we found out, what happened that day, but the days immediately after are very much a blur.

    I heard on the news that some people are considering this to be the worst decade in quite a while. I noticed that there’s not much being said about this being the end of a decade. I was too young to note how it went down in 1989 and 1999 was a huge deal for a lot of reasons outside of it just being the end of a decade…

    To piggyback what jlbd said, I think the year 2008 will be remembered as the point when Americans quit blindly trusting our elected officials and started asking many more questions, finally realizing and understanding that elections DO matter. People claim they haven’t seen change since President Obama has been in office, but there has been change already. It’ll be interesting to see what it looks like in 2012 (besides the world ending).

    • I remember the end of both decades fairly vividly… and this one obviously isn’t getting the run the last one did. But it’s not as big as 1989-90 was.

      But it does seem to be the worst decade since the 1960s. I wonder how much that plays into it.

  4. Morning, y’all.

    @damon: Great list! I agree with everything you listed. In regards to your #1, it’s funny because I just watched Recount (w/Kevin Spacey) again yesterday for the third or fourth time. What a mess that entire election was. Others I would probably add are:

    1. The date of the shootings/murders at Ft. Hood,

    2. The date Guantanamo was announced it was closing,

    3. The date that Lisa Ling’s sister & her traveling companion/co-worker were released,

    4. The date it was announced that America’s bid to host the 2012 Olympics was rejected first.

    Since each of the dates I listed happened in just the last year, I’m sure there are many more that can be added from this decade.

  5. 1/20/09 (really the entire 2009 MLK wknd):
    coldest day i’ve ever conciously chose to patiently stand outside for 5+hrs waiting for the 1st black president of USA to be sworn in.

    cosign on the devasation from Hurricane Katrina

    B.Stearns was 1st of big 5 investment banks to be sold off

    June 2007:
    Bob Barker retires from The Price is Right

  6. 2/11/2008 – Somebody had the bright idea that it would be ok to end one of the best sitcoms ever (Girlfriends) without a final show…heck, they thought it was a bright idea to end the show in general.

    5/15/2009 – ‘The Game’ as we know it (the only good thing that came from ‘Girlfriends’ ending) ended. It’s been rumored that BET is picking it up, but I’ve also heard that some MAJOR changes are being made…*sigh*

    11/20/2009 – For whoever really cares, Oprah decided to announce the ending of her show in 2011. I like Oprah and all, but this wasn’t a big deal to me….the media covered this crap entirely too much…

  7. Another one I’d add is the Iranian election protests of 2009 where Neda became the poster child of the unrest there.

    I didn’t follow this entirely but I remember all the discussions about this on Twitter & CNN and how their internet usage had been restricted during this time but people over there were tweeting about it.

  8. In my last comment, I meant to include the date of MJ’s induction into the NBA Hall of Fame.

  9. 10/15/2009. Never Forget.

  10. April 16, 2007 – Virginia Tech Massacre

    October 26, 2001 – The Day the Patriot Act was signed into law

    2003- Present – Darfur conflict; over 400, 000 murdered

    December 26, 2004 – The Indian Ocean tsunami that killed over 230,000 people

    October 24, 2005 – Rosa Park’s passes away

    January 30, 2006 – Coretta Scott King passes away

  11. I just remembered: Super Bowl XXXIV when the Rams beat the Titans. Still one of the greatest games ever played.

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