The usual trend among journalists and writers at his time of year is one of optimistic speculation. The old year has just ended; surely the new one offers hope of a brighter future, a new beginning, a fresh raison d’etre.
It would be hard to imagine, certainly on a global level, that things could get any worse, so perhaps cautious optimism is not so unrealistic. On the other hand, there is little to suggest much will improve over the next twelve months. Conjecture falls short of certainty, but some speculative bets might tempt even the most prudent gambler. For example, the thousand-to-one odds offered by some bookmakers that George W Bush’s much awaited “New Plan” for winning the war in Iraq will fetch Americans and Iraqis out onto the streets cheering. I have failed to uncover even one writer sufficiently optimistic to suggest he may possibly have the answer – and at the right moment will produce it with a flourish, like a white rabbit from up some sleazy magician’s sleeve.
Then, there’s the vexed question of global warming. To date, the only admission from the White House that the planet is heating up at an alarming rate has been a tentative agreement to render the polar bear an endangered species. Terrific for the polar bear, but what about us? Has it still not sunk into our president’s thick Texas skull that polar bears may not be the only species endangered by global warming? Obviously not, though following a recent hasty retreat from his ranch due to a very unseasonal tornado threat, he was observed to gaze skywards with a far-away look that might possibly have hinted at a passing………thought?
Perhaps there is yet a ray of hope for the world in 2007.
Filed under: Optimistic pessimism