2004 in Review


Muddled. Very muddled.

The Asian tsunami disaster ends 2004 badly. We’ve been given a reminder of how overwhelming nature can be and how powerless we can be in the face of it. As if we needed reminding. However, slowly but surely, relief is getting to the afflicted areas. Westerners are opening their hearts and wallets and their governments are following suit, if a little slowly.

And let us not forget Darfur. And Iraq.

For Erin and I, this has been quite a mixed year. Erin had a good year for writing, landing a large grant, getting her first royalties for Ghost Maps and signing the contract for her next book, Seal up the Thunder (due out this coming February or March). I myself got Rosemary and Time rejected two more times, but still have it in play. I also completed Sealwife. My job at Alternatives Journal came to a close, but new prospects are still opening up.

However, our own lives were dominated this summer by Erin’s increasing fight with Trigeminal Neuralgia. So far, it seems as though the minor surgery has worked to keep the pain seizures at bay. Erin is feeling better now than she has at any other time this year, and this serves to remind us of how bad it got during the summer, when I was on a constant state of high alert, listening for when Erin would be hit again, and when I’d have to run and catch her.

To put it mildly, that sucked.

In better news, my father-in-law continues to recover from his heart surgery. He too is feeling better now than he has in years, and with him the feeling should last longer.

Politically, I’m sure Paul Martin is rueing 2004 as well. He entered it with the promise of a Diefenbaker-sized majority, only to have the thing squandered by a broadside shot of the Auditor General, and his own lacklustre leadership. The result: the first minority government in Ottawa in 25 years. Still, he can thank his lucky stars that he’s still in power. The Conservatives still haven’t put together a credible opposition that can beat him, and the whole parliament seems to realize that the people expect them to work together rather than give up and go for another election. Not a situation that Paul Martin is likely to like, but possibly one that he deserves.

McGuinty and Miller had okay years, living up to some promises, but without fanfare. Idealists may be disappointed, but they’re giving us the most competent government this country is seeing at the moment. For idealists, my fondest political memory of the year remains the positive independent campaign of Arjun Singh. He didn’t win, but he raised the calibre of the campaign around him.

In the United States, George W. Bush overcame the largest vote ever tallied against a presidential incumbent and won reelection. The earth continued to rotate on its axis (albeit losing three microseconds a few weeks later), and it should continue to rotate on its axis as long as the Democrats realize that while the Republicans have been given a strong mandate to govern, they’ve been given an equally strong mandate to oppose.

I suppose 2004 wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Even on NPR, they got an economics expert that said things could have been worse in the tsunami disaster (no major port like Hong Kong or Singapore hit; no major population centre like Jakarta hit), and then he rattled off about how the economy of the area would be improved by all of the reconstruction, since things like car crashes are good for the economy (he didn’t actually say this, but that was the implication. This is why economics is such a goulish science).

But even though 2004 wasn’t as bad as it could have been, I want better things from 2005. I think a lot of people do. We deserve it, darn it!

Whether or not we get it is up to the fates, though.

Frustrating, eh?

Favourite Posts of 2004

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