Happy New Year
By Isabel Lyman
Now that the real new millennium has begun, here are my choices for the best of 2000. What better way to say H-A-P-P-Y N-E-W Y-E-A-R.
H is for Hatch. Just sit right back, and you'll hear a tale of sixteen contestants on a rat-infested island trying to win a million bucks while backstabbing each another at the tribal council. Survivor was not just a television show, it was a sociological phenom. Cunning Richard Hatch, the 39-year-old corporate trainer from Rhode Island, was the Best Villain and walked away with the grand prize. Moral: Bad guys sometimes finish first.
A is for Ashcroft, John. He doesn't drink, smoke, or dance, and he graciously conceded losing his Senate seat to a deceased governor. Being a straight-laced Pentecostal is a bummer, right? Nah. Ashcroft, an ardent pro-lifer and a lefty's migraine, is Dubya's Best Appointment to head the Department of Justice where he promises to "enforce the laws ... with integrity." Hallelujah!
P is for Poker Face. That's the name of the liberty-loving rock group that quotes Edmund Burke on their web site, and isn't shy about performing at anti-gun control rallies. Paul Topete, the band's leader, isn't as famous as Bono, but then U2 would never sing for the Second Amendment Sisters, would they? The dudes from Poker Face are the Best Gun Rights Advocates, and their song "Rather Die Than Be Your Slave" (available on the Sex, Lies, & Politiks CD) is quite catchy.
P is for pedal, as in to the metal. "If you've got it, a trucker brought it" is a well-known saying in the Best Industry. Without truck drivers hauling food, computers, furniture, cars, appliances, cattle, and clothes, from coast to coast, the country would come to a screeching halt. High fuel prices made this a tough year for small business owner/operator truckers, most of who weathered the crisis and rumbled on. Enacting fuel surcharge legislation should be a high priority of the 107th Congress, Mr. Trent Lott.
Y is for Yankee Doodle. Mel Gibson nicely reprised his Braveheart-against-the- establishment role in The Patriot, the Best Movie. Predictably, this Revolutionary War flick, that featured a hatchet-wielding and American flag-waving militiaman, unhinged highbrow snobs. One critic claimed the movie was "right-wing hogwash bathed in an olde-timey golden glow."
N is for Nader, Ralph. The darling of 'save the sea turtle' types, Mr. Green Party had Democratic operatives in a funk. They rightfully feared that Ralphie would steal votes from Al Gore. But even conservatives could appreciate the Best Spoiler, not only for ending the Clinton-Gore dynasty, but also for sparing us four years of Salon.com puff pieces about Tipper, Karenna, Kristin, Albert Jr., and Sarah. Thanks, Ralph.
E is for Ezola. A family-values activist, who has lived and worked in south central Los Angeles, Ezola Foster agreed to be Pat Buchanan's running mate when others said, "No, Pat, no." Americans missed a great opportunity to watch the Best Veep Choice debate Dick Cheney and Joe Lieberman. As commentator Paul Harvey observed, "Ezola Foster is the only candidate with combat experience -- she's been a public school teacher!"
W is for W. Author Toni Morrison stated that Bill Clinton was the "first black President" since he likes junk food, plays the saxophone, and was raised by a poor, single mom in Arkansas. Gimme a break! If that's the paltry criteria required to become a soul man, then surely George W. Bush is the Best Hispanic president-elect. His bona fides, after all, include governing Tejas, having a Mexican sister-in-law, munching enchiladas, garnering Cuban-American votes, and being accused of speaking Spanish more eloquently than English. Viva Bush!
Y is for Y2K. The technological meltdown that didn't occur was the Best Non-Event of 2000. Remember the hype and the security precautions? Thankfully there were no blackouts or terrorist attacks. But shame on the money-grubbing Chicken Littles who scared many with their doom-and-gloom agit prop.
E is for education. Specifically, home education. Specifically, George Thampy. He's the homeschooler who blew away the competition in the 2000 National Spelling Bee. The Best Speller also placed second in the National Geography Bee. Question for budding math whizzes: What is six times two? Answer: George's age when he achieved these amazing feats.
A is for abolitionists. Christian Solidarity International, a Swiss-based human rights organization and the Best Ministry, has tirelessly raised public awareness about the slave trade in Sudan. These modern-day abolitionists have redeemed thousands of enslaved African women and children - for about $50 per person - and promptly set them free. God bless 'em.
R is for Rams. Humble Kurt Warner is the former stockboy-turned-superstar quarterback of the St. Louis Rams. While the team's defense this past season has been as lame as a Dennis Miller joke, Warner's passing performance at Super Bowl XXXIV was spectacular. He is the Best Champion for his on-the-field performance and for exemplary off-the-field conduct. Moral: Nice guys don't always finish last.
Izzy Lyman, author of The Homeschooling Revolution, can be reached at email@example.com.
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