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A Game Plan for this New Year

2 January 2002

Well, I tried to compile a list of good things that came out of 2001, but it was so short it wouldn't fill this space. So, I'll look ahead instead and list a few things I hope to see happen in 2002.

Most of them, I know, should be subtitled, 'In My Dreams.'

  • Sooner than later, the mainstream U.S. news media - especially electronic types - will snap out of the ultimate-video-game trance that's been induced by our undec lared and totally lacking-in-boundaries war on terrorism.

    When they do snap out of it, they will regain their perspective and start reporting the military events of whatever country we happen to be ripping up in search of terrorists as only one aspect (albeit an expensive one) of a huge, complex, global situation.

    And they will quote George W. Bush about the war only when he actually has something informative to say instead of trumpeting his every 'We are resolved, ' 'We have them on the run' or 'I'm a patient man,' as if that were real news.

  • In a similar vein, previously courageous and intelligent members of Congress will get it together to start questioning the wisdom (let alone morality) of how much we are spending in mo ney and people power to 'smoke out' terrorists the hard way.

    They will shove aside their fears of losing re-election and listen to their conscience and their years of experience. If they are Sen. Barbara Boxer or Rep. Nancy Pelosi, they will at least look us in the eye and say one of two things:

    'I've rolled over to the Bush juggernaut because I'm privy to a lot of really scary military information that I can't share' or 'I saw what happened to Barbara Lee and I just haven't got the guts.'

  • Likewise, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops will start listening to th e few sages among them -- say, Detroit's Thomas Gumbleton -- and put discussion of such unholy matt ers as nuclear weapons and the missile defense shield back on their agenda where it belongs.

    Then, they can take another vote and see if the majority still feels like issuing knee-jerk approvals of the Bush administration's war on terrorism or its plan to spend obscene amounts of money on a missile shield that is more about protecting the U.S. military's offensive capabilities than protecting the citizens of New York or Los Angeles.

  • Somebody in the print media will spend big bucks to put a team of investigative repor ters on the still-mysterious (and slightly stinky to any veteran journalist) anthrax story. If it turns out that the perpetrators are an embarrassment to the military or an entity even higher up the chain of command, the investigative team's newspaper will have the cojones to publish the story.

  • Every American public school kid (and every teacher) will be required to read or lis ten to a weekly digest of foreign coverage of our war on terrorism as well as other U.S. policy dec isions that affect the rest of the world. I'm not talking about Fox's or CNN's version of Al Jazeera, I'm talking about translations of the front pages and nightly newscasts of media of our allied nations.

  • On a local level, Mayor Willie Brown, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors and the people of this city finally will declare 'homelessness' the public health crisis that it is and act accordingly.

    No, Gavin Newsom, that does not mean we ape New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani. After Sept. 11, he was a saint filling a crucial role for his people, but not all of his answers to the problems of the urban poor, mentally ill and addicted should be imitated.

  • The San Francisco Bay Area will experience three straight days of sunshine.

Stephanie Salter.
Published in the San Francisco Chronicle.
2002 San Francisco Chronicle.

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