‘Decade from Hell’

‘DECADE FROM HELL’…. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll asked respondents to assess the strength of the soon-to-end decade.

According to the poll, a combined 58% said the decade was either “awful” or “not so good,” 29% said it was fair, and just 12% said it was either “good” or “great.”

I’m hard pressed to imagine what those 12% were thinking.

In Time, Andy Serwer recently put it this way:

Bookended by 9/11 at the start and a financial wipeout at the end, the first 10 years of this century will very likely go down as the most dispiriting and disillusioning decade Americans have lived through in the post-World War II era. We’re still weeks away from the end of ’09, but it’s not too early to pass judgment. Call it the Decade from Hell, or the Reckoning, or the Decade of Broken Dreams, or the Lost Decade.

Was it really that bad? Pretty much, yes. One barely has to give it much thought to remember what made this decade one Americans don’t want to remember: 9/11, the Great Recession, two devastating wars, anthrax, Katrina, Tom DeLay and the culture of corruption, Enron, Madoff, sniper shootings, an explosion of debt, the entire Bush/Cheney presidency. Median incomes went down. Poverty went up. Global warming got worse. Fox yanked “Firefly” after 14 episodes, while “According to Jim” aired 182 episodes.

The ’70s were bad. The ’00s were worse. Serwer speculates as to what went wrong, and believes the decade suffered from a combination of neglect, greed, self-interest, and a deferral of responsibility, all at once. That sounds about right.

I’m just glad it’s almost over.