(NNPA)—The first decade of the 21st century (2000-2009) was not a subtle period. It will probably be reported in future history as being a very challenging, morally challenging, moment for America. I have come up with my top 10 events of the last decade.
Number One: 9/11/2001
Not since Pearl Harbor has America been more shocked and surprised. It showed us that we must always be vigilant and conscious of exactly who our enemies are. I was on Capitol Hill when it went down and witnessing the smoke bellowing from the Pentagon; tanks going across the Key Bridge; traffic at a complete standstill; cell phones cut off; etc. This was, without doubt, the worst day of my life.
Number Two: The Big Recession
The worst aspect of this dire economic situation is that it isn’t over yet. African-Americans are losing one-third of our net worth right before our eyes and the effects will be painful and long-term. Government Sponsored Enterprises (Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae) failed us by knowingly accepting fraudulent and worthless mortgages with our tax money. The crooks (sub-prime mortgage writers, Wall St. bankers, hedge fund pirates, etc.) have gotten away with the crimes and we, the taxpayers are taking the hit. The worst thing is that many of the crooks were made whole with more of our tax money. They double-dipped us and now laugh in our faces.
Never has our government neglected such a large group of citizens in time of crisis. All they had to do was turn on a television to precisely know of the pain and horror our brothers and sisters in the Gulf Region were going through. They sat and did nothing until all the damage was done. This started the hunger for “change” in America. It was a total disgrace!
Number Four—President Barack Hussein Obama
It hit us all by surprise. We elected an African- American with a Muslim name as the leader of the free world. The fruit of the Civil Rights Movement has hit a new high. The Black vote (98 percent for Obama) clearly made the difference 43 years after the passing of the Voting Rights Act.
Number Five—The Patriot Act
September 11, 2001 and other events have caused a governmental paranoia that is infringing on many of our liberties. We just don’t know the full extent of what we have lost or will lose. Wire tapping, rendition, water boarding, profiling, checkpoints, etc. are in full swing. “Big Brother” has actually arrived.
Number Six—Bush vs. Gore
This election shot my blood pressure way up. Gore won the popular vote but Bush had the Electoral College votes (or did he?) Florida became an issue of debate which was finally settled by the U.S. Supreme Court which was basically assembled by the Republican Party. This taught us another lesson about our nation. It was something else not to be really proud of.
Number Seven—Dotcom Bubble
This was another major theft by Wall St. gangsters. They played a well organized ponzi scheme on American stock holders, basically pension funds. There were too many new companies for a person to keep up with and what in the world were they selling or making? We still haven’t figured it out. One Dotcom CEO asked us to seat him next to our guest speaker at our annual luncheon. The speaker was a Fortune 50 CEO. During that time period he persuaded the speaker to buy some debentures he was selling. The speaker later told me that in two months they made $40 million off the debentures. The Dotcom CEO wired us $500,000 one day to thank us for the seating arrangement. The CEO is presently in jail along with many other Dotcom hustlers. Pension funds were left holding the bag when Enron, Worldcom and others all went down.
Number Eight—Iraq War, Part 2
Saddam Hussein was given 13 more years of dictatorship and oppression when our military could not adequately supply food and other quartermaster type supplies to its troops. The discriminatory process against Black suppliers hindered our readiness. Finally, the Military Industrial Complex made its move by propagandizing our citizens, manipulating our politicians and returning to war. We are still paying for this one, too.
Number Nine—Afghanistan War
The reasons are understandable but the prosecution of this conflict is taking way too long—almost to the point of failure. Let’s finish it!
Number Ten—Passing of Michael Jackson
He was a culture molder and brought joy to billions of people around the world. We will never see another Michael! Question: Why did the FBI have a file on Michael and why did they help the prosecutors in his infamous trial? Perhaps it was too much money for one Black man.
Good bye decade and good riddance!
(Harry Alford is co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.)